The Anonymous Widower

Portsmouth Waterfront – 1st November 2021

I took these pictures as the ferry to the Isle of White left Portsmouth.

I would have taken some of the ferry, but I caught it with just twenty seconds to spare.

November 1, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

A Dreadful Hot Chocolate At Woking Station

On my trip to the Isle of Wight today, to ride on the new Class 484 trains on the Island Line, I got on a Portsmouth & Southsea train, rather than one to Portsmouth Harbour station.

I was told be the guard, that it would be convenient to change at Woking station, which I did.

I took these pictures at the station.


  1. I alighted on Platform 5, where there is a Starbucks.
  2. I bought a hot chocolate in the Starbucks.
  3. I then moved to Platform 4 to catch my train to Portsmouth Harbour.
  4. It was a bit of a precarious platform transfer as the lifts are at the other end of the station.
  5. Where there was a Pumpkin.

It’s a pity, I didn’t wait to get my drink, as it was one of the worst Hot chocolates I’ve ever tasted.

Later I had a much better hot chocolate in another cafe at Ryde.

November 1, 2021 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Class 484 Arrives On The Isle Of Wight

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

The title says it all, but the article contains links to interesting pictures and video of the solution to getting a two-car Class 484 train onto an island.

November 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Graffiti Vandals Paralyse Island Line Service

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railnews.

This is the first paragraph.

The Island Line timetable was suspended on Monday morning, after the only serviceable train on the route was sprayed with graffiti. Passengers were being diverted to buses until the graffiti could be removed.

I can’t understand the motives of people who spray graffiti and I hope that the culprits are found and given time in one of the Isle of Wight’s prisons.

September 7, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 5 Comments

Reinstatement Of Branch Lines On The Isle Of Wight

This is one of the successful bids in the First Round of the Restoring Your Railway Fund.

This article on isleofwhiteradio is entitled Funding From Government To Develop Isle Of Wight Railway Reopening Proposals.

The article lists two proposed schemes for expansion of the Island Line.

• Extension of the existing Island Line service (Ryde-Shanklin) south of Shanklin to reach Ventnor, calling at Wroxall.
• Integration with, and extension of, the existing Isle of Wight Steam Railway route to provide passenger services through Smallbrook from Ryde to Newport.

The article has an informative map.

Nearly, three years ago, I wrote Diesel And Battery Trains Could Be The Solution For Island Line, based on an article on the Island Echo, with the same title.

Since then, things have moved on and these developments have started.

  • Vivarail are building a fleet of five new zero-carbon Class 484 electric trains.
  • Network Rail have promised £5 million to upgrade Ryde Pier to secure the future of the line.
  • The track and signalling system will be upgraded this winter.
  • The passing loop at Brading will be reinstated.

This will allow a thirty minute service interval from May 2021.

Wikipedia states that a twenty-minute service could be possible in the future.

The Trains

These pictures show the Class 230 trains on the Marston Vale Line.


  1. These are a diesel-electric version of the Class 484, which will use the existing third-rail electrification and possibly batteries on the Island Line.
  2. The operator can choose an interior appropriate to their needs.
  3. Three-car versions of the train have been ordered by Transport for Wales.

Battery versions of the train are available with a forty-mile range, See Retired London Underground Train Travels Forty Miles Solely On Battery Power.

The Extension To Ventnor

Looking at the map and measuring distance using methods that would have been known to Drake and Grenville, I estimate that the distance between Shanklin and Ventnor via Wroxhall is less than fifteen miles.

  • As the battery range of Vivarail’s trains can be in the region of forty miles, this must open up the possibility of using battery power between Shanklin and Ventnor.
  • Building the extension without electrification would lower the cost.
  • Trains running from Shanklin to Ventnor would be charged on the electrified section of the route.
  • One of Vivarail’s charging systems could be installed at Ventnor if required. See Charging A Battery-Powered Class 230 Train.

Would Vivarail just add a third car with batteries to the Class 484 trains and update the software to enable trains to run on the extension to Ventnor?

The Extension To Newport

The Island Line connects to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway at Smallbrook Junction station.


  1. The Island line running North-South on the Eastern side of the map.
  2. The Isle of Wight Steam Railway curving away to the South-West.
  3. The two railways connecting at Smallbrook Junction station.
  4. Ryde is to the North.
  5. Shanklin is to the South.
  6. Newport is to the West.

I doubt, that allowing trains to run between Ryde and Newport, would be one of the most challenging projects in railway engineering.

The map on the isleofwightradio web site, shows a chord, that would allow trains to run between Shanklin and Newport.

I would estimate that the distance between Smallbrook Junction and Newport is around ten miles.

  • The terminus would appear to be in the Barton area of Newport.
  • Much of the route would appear to be across open countryside.
  • The only place for a station could be the Isle of Wight Crematorium. Why not?

As with the extension to Ventnor, I believe that battery-electric Class 484 trains could run services to Newport.

Will The Isle Of Wight Steam Railway Object?

I very much feel, that if the scheme is well-designed, that they could be a beneficiary because of increased numbers of visitors.

The scheme might also be able to give the steam railway paths to run steam trains as far as Ryde St. John’s Road station.


This proposal is an elegant one, that uses proven technology and builds smoothly on work, that is already underway.

It is also a zero-carbon solution, if the electricity is from renewable sources.

I also suspect, if Network Rail put one of their brighter teams on the current upgrade to the track and signalling of the Island Line, that the extra work needed to connect to Ventnor and Newport, could be planned and costed in a very short time.



May 27, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Delivery Drone Flies Medical Supplies To Britain’s Isle of Wight

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Reuters.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A new drone service will reduce delivery times for urgent medical supplies to a hospital on the Isle of Wight, which lies about 8 kilometres off the south coast of England.

In some ways the most remarkable thing about this project, was that the drone was developed by Southampton University to deliver medical supplies in remote parts of Africa.

  • It is twin-engined.
  • It has a range of 100 km.
  • It can carry a 100 kg payload.
  • It can take off and land on short grass runways.

More details can be found on this page of the Southampton University web site.

This is a video of the first delivery.

May 13, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will We Get Trams On The Isle Of Wight?

The Island Line on the Isle of Wight, is an oddity in that it is part-tourist attraction, part-commuter link and part-important railway, run using old London Underground tube trains. I wrote about my only ride on the line in A Trip On The Island Line.

According to this report on Rail Magazine, which is entitled Garnett report advises trams for the Isle of Wight, it would be better if the line was redeveloped using trams or light rail, and probably run under much greater local control.

I agree, but I can already hear moans from people who want to keep the line as it is. But it must be a maintenance and operational nightmare! All credit should probably go to South West Trains and their partners, who keep this museum piece running.

I also feel that there could be some innovative form of light rail, run on this difficult line, using a mix of all the new technologies now coming in to the mainstream.

  • Ability to run on a well-laid standard gauge  track, without electrification.
  • Battery/flywheel and electric operation with charging at end and interchanges to give a range of five to ten miles between charging stations.
  • Spacious, step-free and enough vehicles, with the capacity of probably a three-car tram.
  • Street running capability.
  • Totally automatic or semi-automatic one-man operation.
  • Tramway-style infrastructure and rules, so stops would be safe and simple.
  • Several trips an hour frequency
  • Contactless bank card ticketing.

In some ways the nearest form of transport at present is a Parry People Mover. But these are just not big or automated enough. However a modern tram run with more automation and on batteries could be a solution.

I think there is an opportunity on the Isle of Wight to create the prototype of an advanced form of self-contained, environmentally-friendly transport system.

The Island Line is unique in the UK at the moment, but I can think of several places, where this form of automatic light rail people mover might be a solution.

There must be many places in the UK and around the world, where a simple standard drop-in automatic light rail system can be applied.

Many could even be built by local commercial interests or authorities.





February 16, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

A Gluten-Free Lunch In Shanklin

I needed some lunch and was walking back to the station, when I saw Micky’s Munch Box.

As you can see I sat in the sun and ate a toasted cheese and bacon sandwich in gluten-free bread.

With the long lasting qualities of some gluten-free breads like Genius, I think we’ll see more of this type of cafe catering for those like me, who need to be gluten-free.

August 15, 2013 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment


I got off the Island Line train at the end, which was Shanklin.

As you can see I walked to the beach and then went back up the hill to the station.

I was glad to see a map, although the town had lots of finger posts and my original navigation system had no difficulty finding my way around.

August 15, 2013 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

A Cruise To The Isle Of Wight

Until yesterday, I’d never been to the Isle of Wight.

I took the train from Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour station, from where I walked to the catamaran for Ryde.

The pictures were taken on the way over.

The ferry was fairly busy with passengers.  Unfortunately, you don’t seem to be able to get into the fresh air.

The fort incidentally, is one of the Palmerston Forts.

August 15, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 3 Comments