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 The goods service was withdrawn in mid 1948 when the station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
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.
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.
||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 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
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.
for selected reading
Other web sites: The
Freshwater Yarmouth and Newport Railway (Steve Holden) web
Ticket from Brian Halford
To see the other
stations on the Freshwater, Yarmouth & Newport Railway line
click on the station name: Newport,
Calbourne & Shalfleet,
for Isle of Wight station index