Station Name: VENTNOR

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 10.10.1866
Location: At the end of Old Station Road
Company on opening: Isle of Wight Railway
Date closed to passengers: 18.4.1966
Date closed completely: 18.4.1966
Company on closing: British Railways (Southern Region)
Present state: Demolished - the site is now a light industrial estate and little survives apart from the tunnel portal within a Southern Water compound and some excavated chambers in the quarry face that by local merchants when the station was in use. Some of them are still used by the owners of the industrial units.
County: Isle of Wight
OS Grid Ref: SZ561779
Date of visit: 19.2.1966, October 1967, March 1968, June 1977 & June 2004

Notes: When Ventnor Station was first opened 1866 on the site of an existing operating quarry only temporary accommodation was provided. A permanent station was eventually built including a large goods yard with three sidings and coal ground for local merchants who were accommodated in quarried chambers in the cliff face. Although there were only two passengers roads the station was provided with three platform faces on two island platforms. The fourth platform face was for goods with a large goods shed provided at the end of the platform.

After several failed attempts to build a railway to Ventnor, a Bill was proposed by the Isle of Wight Railway in 1860 for a line from Ryde to Ventnor.

An Act was passed authorising the building of the line and by 1864 the line had reached Shanklin but following objections from landowners the intended route through Luccombe and Bonchurch was dropped in favour of a new route from the north passing through Wroxall. This route required the construction of a 1312 yard tunnel under St. Boniface Down; the line eventually reached Ventnor in 1866.

From the opening the line was well used losing little traffic to the IWCR who opened a branch from Merstone - Ventnor Town in 1900.

Ventnor Town was in fact located a mile west of the town centre and was never well used and although the IWR station was also inconveniently sited high above the town it provided a faster and therefore more poplar route from Ryde.

Since the 17th C there has been various schemes to drain and reclaim Brading Marshes, none of these had been successful until the Brading Harbour Improvements and Railway Company obtained powers in 1874 to construct a 2 1/2 mile railway from the IWR at Brading to Bembridge across the reclaimed land. The scheme took eight years to complete, opening on 27th May 1882. From the outset the service was operated by the Isle of Wight Railway who bought the line outright for £430 on 2nd August 1898. The line initially proved very popular and was especially busy on summer weekends.

All the islands railways were absorbed into the Southern Railway in the 1923 grouping and the service was soon upgraded with the introduction of new rolling stock and a revised timetable that included some through running between the various lines. The Southern Railway itself became part of the Southern Region of British Railways after nationalisation in 1948
and initially there were few changes. However this was short lived; improved bus services and the popularity of the motor car soon and holidays abroad led to dwindling passenger numbers. Merstone - Ventnor was the first line to close in 1952 leaving the IWR as the only route serving the town. The following year the Bembridge branch closed.

During the early 1960s it was decided to replace the remaining aging Island locomotives but the end steam operation in favour of electric, put paid to the idea. Under the Beeching proposals the remaining island lines were scheduled for closure apart from a 1.2 mile section of the IWR from Ryde Pier Head - St. Johns Road. It was hoped however that a further section of the line as far as Shanklin could also be reprieved and in 1965 the Minister of Transport announced that line between Ryde Pier Head - Shanklin should remain open and be modernised. The remaining section of the line between Shanklin and Ventnor closed on the 18th April 1966.

British Railways decided that the line should be electrified and operated by ex-London Transport tube stock to overcome the problem of continuing to use the substandard tunnel at Ryde. 43 redundant tube cars were imported and the remaining steam service between Ryde Pier Head and St. Johns Road was suspended at the end of 1966 to allow the final stages
of the third rail electrification to take place. The tube trains were brought across on the car-ferry with the passenger service reinstated on 20 March 1967. The line is still operated by ex-tube stock as the Island Line.

Since closure there have been numerous proposals to reopen the line from Shanklin to Wroxall and Ventnor, but none of these plans seem unlikely to come to fruition. Both stations have been demolished and the sites redeveloped. Much of the Bembridge branch has been incorporated into one of the island's cycleways

Other web sites: web site for more pictures of Ventnor Station

Click here for further selected reading

To see the other stations on the Isle of Wight Central Railway line click on the station name: Bembridge, St. Helens & Wroxall

Click here for Isle of Wight station index

An early view of Ventnor station c. 1890s.

1871 1:2,500 OS map. The original simple layout of Ventnor station with two sidings, a run round loop
and a turntable. At this time there were no buildings on the platform.

1898 1:2,500 OS map. The station has ben greatly enlarged requiring further excavation of the hillside. We now see platform buildings. a goods shed and more sidings. one serving a coal yard on the west side, The 10-ton yard crane is also shown. A station hotel has also been built.

Ventnor Station in the early 20th century

Ventnor Station in June 1961.

Ventnor Station on 15th August 1963
Photo by Philip Tatt (from 30937 Photographic Group web site)

Ventnor Station in the 1960's

Ventnor station c.1965.
Photo by Bill Rawlindon

Ventnor Station forecourt on 15th August 1963
Photo by Philip Tatt (from 30937 Photographic Group web site)

Ventnor Station in April 1966 (last weekend before closure)
Photo by Colin Reeves

Ventnor Station in April 1966 (last weekend before closure)
Photo by Colin Reeves

Ventnor Station in March 1968 seen from St. Boniface Down
Photo by Nick Catford

Ventnor station looking north in September 1970
Photo by John Hulse

By June 1977 Ventnor Station had been demolished and the site was a light industrial estate
Photo by Nick Catforrd

The site of Ventnor Station in in June 2005. The tunnel portal can be seen in the quarry face at the back of the industrial estate
Photo by Nick Catford

For more pictures of Ventnor click here




[Source: Nick Catford]

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