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Photo guide to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Discussion in 'Photographic Guides' started by W14, Jun 3, 2007.

  1. W14

    W14 Member

    Apr 1, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Writer and former business/railway manager
    0. General

    I have seen photographs which must have been taken from the lineside on the IOWSR but these were probably taken by authorised staff and as far as I know lineside permits are not issued. The IOWSR takes great pride in maintaining lineside vegetation so in many places good shots can be obtained from lineside fields and paths. A copy of the large-scale Ordnance Survey Explorer Map for the Island (OL29) is a good investment.

    Through tickets including unlimited travel on both Island Line and IOWSR are available on the Island, and from Portsmouth Harbour and all mainland destinations (called variously IOW Day Steam Rover or Island Liner, depending where you buy it).

    1. Smallbrook Junction

    Slightly limited possibilities here. The angle of the line is roughly NNW, so you have to be pretty early in the morning to get the light to illuminate the platform side of the train. I've seen photographs taken from the field opposite the platform but there is no easy access to this.

    Best possibilities:
    North end of the platform before the engine goes off to run round (here). But don't hang about because the engine crews don't and nor do the passengers wanting to have a look at the engine.

    South end of platform: the best shot is usually of the engine as it comes from behind the train on the run-round loop (here) or of it backing onto the front of the train (here). Looking towards the loop points doesn't work for me - not only are the engines always bunker towards you but they're just too far off (here).

    2. Calloways and Whitefield Crossings

    The line heads south-west from Smallbrook and is crossed by a bridleway at Calloways Crossing and a footpath/farm track at Whitefield Crossing. Both are easily accessible from the Downs Road that runs south from Ryde to Ashey and give good views of the railway in both directions.

    3. Long Arch Bridge

    The Downs Road crosses the railway at an acute angle at Long Arch Bridge. Trains heading west are climbing to Ashey summit and working hard, but those heading east (here) will be coasting. The local council has thoughtfully provided steel crash barriers along the side of the road, which make a handy if rather cold place to sit while waiting for the train, as well as keeping road vehicles off the track.

    4. Deacons Road Bridge

    Deacons, reached by a turning off the Downs Road, is just west of Long Arch and trains emerging from Long Arch can be seen from it (here). Looking west from Deacons the line curves gently to the right with downland scenery as a backdrop.

    5. Ashey station

    Ashey station can only be reached by footpath and trains only stop by request. There are photographic opportunities from the station platform or from the footpath crossing about 50 yards to the west. A footpath follows the old siding which once ran up to the quarry on the downs to the south. (The derelict tunnel which took the siding under the road and into the quarry can still be seen.) Good distant views of passing trains can be had from this direction.

    Increasing vegetation along the boundary of the former station house is slowly restricting the view from the platform westwards. Compare this in 1993 with this in 2007. The view to the east is more open, either from the platform end (here) or from the grassy area behind the platform. Other pictures taken around Ashey station can be seen here.

    6. Ashey Grounds Crossing

    A bridleway crosses the line a short distance west of Ashey station. This can most easily be reached a by footpath from Rowlands Lane (just south of Rowlands Wood) or from Gatehouse Road just south of Little Upton Farm.

    7. Rowlands Lane Bridge

    Rowlands Lane runs due south from Rowlands Cross, which is north-east of Havenstreet village. The railway is in a fairly narrow cutting here and the view is one of looking down on the top of the train.

    Looking east. The gradient rises steeply for up trains.

    8. Havenstreet

    Photography at Havenstreet can be a bit difficult, partly because there are usually a lot of people wandering around in a fairly compact area (with a tendency to wander into shot) and partly because there's a lot of operational infrastructure to get in the way, as at the west end of the station where a good shot of the train accelerating away up the bank is marred by various signal posts, telegraph poles, etc. I don't find that shots along the narrow platform work very well either.

    The best spots are from the south side of the track, especially of trains approaching from Smallbrook Junction as here or head-on from the foot crossing, or up trains departing from the same location.

    I've never really been happy with pictures of a train in the up loop. From the platform the engine is usually surrounded by people and it's difficult to avoid the water tower sprouting from the cab roof but sometimes you can get a tolerable shot. From the path along the north side of the line the space is constricted, there's a fence in the way, and the light is poor.

    Locos outside the shed usually offer only the options of a side on view or bunker towards you, both from the platform as here.

    There is access to the Carriage & Wagon Workshop (through the door at the back of the shop) but the light inside is challenging and the vehicles close to as here. Part of the yard can also be seen from outside the C&W Shop.

    9. Woodhouse Crossing

    Woodhouse crossing is on a lengthy bridleway that runs south from Wootton Bridge. From the south it can be reached from the road west of Havenstreet station or from Briddlesford Road (Knights Cross). There are excellent views of down trains emerging from Briddlesford Copse and working hard on the gradient. There is a good clear view of Up trains though they will be coasting and running bunker first.

    10. Packsfield Lane Crossing

    Packsfield Lane can be reached by two turnings off Station Road, Wootton. It is only a short distance east of Wootton station and offers a clearer view of down trains arriving at Wootton than you'll get from the platform as this picture (in which the crossing is adjacent to the buffer stop) illustrates.

    11. Wootton

    The replacement Wootton station (the original was in a slip-prone cutting on the other side of Station Road) is high photogenic. Excellent views can be had from the platform of almost every aspect of operation, plus the view from the station approach ramp.
  2. stepney60

    stepney60 Nat Pres stalwart

    Dec 3, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Thanks for this, most handy. I have been to the IoWSR a few times and always found photography restrictive

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