Station Name: FRESHWATER

[Source: Nick Catford]
Date opened: 20.7.1889
Location: On the north side of School Green Road (A3055) east of the junction with Hooke Hill
Company on opening: Freshwater, Yarmouth & Newport Railway
Date closed to passengers: 21.9.1953
Date closed completely: 21.9.1953
Company on closing: British Railways (Southern Region)
Present state: The main station building has been demolished and the site is now occupied by a Co-op supermarket. Sections of the platform still remain in the Honor and Jeffery Garden Centre behind the Co-op.
County: Isle of Wight
OS Grid Ref: SZ344870
Date of visit: 5.6.2005

Notes: Freshwater Station was the largest on the line with a single platform and a two storey brick building at the end of a short approach road from School Green Road. The platform was lengthened four times to accommodate longer trains. The station had a run round loop, two goods sidings and a cattle dock. There was also an engine shed and two carriage sheds which were demolished in 1927. After closure a book kiosk on the station was relocated in the town and is still in use. The signal box, which was relocated to Freshwater from Newport when the line was taken over by the Southern Railway, became a bus shelter and was relocated to Wootton on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway in 1987.

The first railway to be built on the Isle of Wight opened between Cowes and Newport in 1862. In 1868 there was a proposal to build a line from Newport to Freshwater at the western end of the island. This initial proposal came to nothing but in 1880 the Freshwater, Yarmouth and Newport Railway Company were authorised by act of parliament to build a 12 mile single track line with three passing places from the Isle of Wight Central Railway's station at Newport to Freshwater.

Construction started at the western end in 1886 with the line finally reaching Yarmouth two years later. The railway opened to goods traffic on 10th September 1888. There were some passenger excursions but the line didn't officially open to passenger traffic on 20th July 1889.

Intermediate stations were at Carisbrooke, Calbourne, Ningwood and Yarmouth and in July 1889 a private station was opened at Watchingwell for Sir. John Simeon of Swainston. Eventually this became a public station and first appeared in a public timetable in August 1923.

From the start the service was provided by the Isle of Wight Central Railway who provided the staff and the rolling stock while the FYN was responsible for maintaining the line. This did not prove to be a satisfactory arrangement and after bankruptcy in 1896 the partnership was eventually dissolved in 1913 when the FYN bought its own locomotives and rolling stock. The company also built its own station 200 yards west of the IWC station at Newport. Initially transferring passengers had to walk between the two stations but by June 1914 trains were allowed to run between the two stations saving passengers the walk.

The line was not financially successful with the company operating in bankruptcy until 1923 when it was taken over by the Southern Railway as part of the general grouping. Shortly after the takeover the FYN station at Newport closed with all trains running in to the IWC station. Improvements were made with some through trains running between Freshwater and Ventnor but following nationalisation in 1947 the lines days were numbered. In 1952 it was proposed to close the line and following a public inquiry, closure was approved with the last train running on 20th September 1953.

Many of the islands other disused lines have now been given a new lease of life as public footpaths and cycleways, these include Newport - Sandown (Perowne Way), Newport - Cowes, Wootton - Newport and Brading - Bembridge.

Click here for selected reading

Other web sites: The Freshwater Yarmouth and Newport Railway (Steve Holden) web site.

To see the other stations on the Freshwater, Yarmouth & Newport Railway line click on the station name: Newport, Carisbrooke, Watchingwell,
Calbourne & Shalfleet, Ningwood & Yarmouth

Click here for Isle of Wight station index

The first train arriving at Freshwater in 1888. The station opened to goods traffic with some passenger excursions on 10 September 1888. This is likely to have been the official opening the previous day.
Photo received from Angus Townley

Freshwater Station forecourt in 1880

Freshwater Station in September 1953
Photo by J. H. Aston

Freshwater station c 1950s

Freshwater Station forecourt in 1953
Photo by J. H. Aston

Freshwater station c. 1964
Photo by Bill Rawlinson

Freshwater station forecourt c. 1964
Photo by Bill Rawlinson

Sections of platform still survive at the back of the Honor and Jeffery Garden Centre in June 2005
Photo by Nick Catford




Click on thumbnail to enlarge




[Source: Nick Catford

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