Station Name: WATCHINGWELL

 

[Source: Nick Catford]


Date opened: 20.7.1889 (private) August 1923 (public)
Location: At the end of a private road
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: Both the station building and platform are extant and in private occupation. At this point a farm track/footpath has been diverted along the trackbed passing the station. A section of platform including one of the ramps can be seen in the garden.
County: Isle of Wight
OS Grid Ref: SZ448884
Date of visit: 4.6.2005

Notes: Watchingwell Station was built by Southampton MP Sir John Barrington Simeon for the use of his family, friends, tenants and those having business at the estate. It first appeared in a public timetable in August 1923. The station had a 140' long siding. The goods service was withdrawn in mid 1948 when the station was downgraded to a halt.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE FRESHWATER, YARMOUTH & NEWPORT RAILWAY
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.
Ticket from Brian Halford

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

Click here for Isle of Wight station index

 

Watchingwell Station in 1953
Photo by John L. Smith




Watchingwell Station in June 2005
Photo by Nick Catford


Watchingwell Station in 1953
Photo by John L. Smith

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Click on thubnail to enlarge

 

 

 

[Source: Nick Catford


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