Friends visit Isle of Wight
50 Friends have just returned from an intensive three day visit to the Isle of Wight, in a well-planned itinerary covering most of the Island's fascinating public transport.
The group travelled to the Island by hovercraft - on one of the few such services now still operating in the world. (There are no others in Europe.) On arrival at Ryde, we heard of the Hover Travel company's future plans, including new build craft. We then took an open-top bus tour to some of the Island's scenic sights, with tea in the picturesque gardens at Quarr Abbey.
On Sunday the group took a trip on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, with a behind the scenes tour of the workshops. It was fascinating to see the Railway's painstaking restoration of Victorian carriages, which closely follows the work which the Friends sponsored to restore Metropolitan coach 353. Sunday afternoon saw the group in Newport, with time to visit the bus museum and to participate in the running day with trips on a wide range of heritage vehicles.
On Monday we were the guests of South West Trains, riding on the Island Line's 1938 tube stock, still soldiering on after 75 years service, and enjoying the rare privilege of a tour of the railway workshops at St John's Road. Final visit was to Southern Vectis bus company at Newport, including a breezy and spirited ride on an open top bus to the Needles, before joining our ferry at Yarmouth for the crossing back to Lymington.