Island Line passengers were rescued by a steam train this afternoon, after a train broke down at Smallbrook station.
Passengers were moved onto the locomotive from the Island Line train, and taken to Havenstreet. Island Line then organised taxis for passengers to get to their destinations. It was a bit of an adventure, according to Peter Vail, general manager of the Isle of Wight Steam railway. He said:
“Today’s actually our first operating day of the 2016, so quite a big day for us anyway, but when our first train arrived at the Smallbrook junction station the Island Line Train pulled in and unfortunately failed.” “We realised what was happening so we held the steam train at the station, it became apparent that the problem would take a while to be fixed, so we took on about 20 passengers and went back to Havenstreet.” “The ironic thing was that we’ve got a newly restored steam train in service todya that was built in 1951, and the Island trains are ex-london underground tube stock dating back to 1938, so by comparison our steam trains are more modern technology!”
Peter said the steam railway has an ambition to extend the railway route into Ryde St Johns, but isn’t tempted to run steam trains across the whole of Island Line. He said:
“Island Line is an operating railway and so one thing you can’t do is mix with steam trains, so our ambition doesn’t really go beyond getting into Ryde St Johns at the moment.”