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Features: Merstone, BR SR (IOW), 1960s

Published 25 September 2018, 16:23

Merstone was located in the middle of the Isle of Wight and served the local communities of Merstone and Rookley.

The Isle of Wight Central built the line from Newport to Sandown with completion in 1875 and closure in 1956. The Ventnor West route was the last line to be opened on the Isle of Wight opening in 1900 and closing in 1952.

The line to the north is to Newport via Blackwater and Shide. The line to the east was the route to Sandown via Newchurch, Alverstone and Horringford. The line due south was the Ventnor West branch which was usually operated by a ‘Terrier’ and push pull set. In later years an Adams ‘O2’ with a two coach LBSCR bogie push-pull set would run the branch, normally W35 Freshwater or W36 Carisbrooke.

The Ventnor West line was often described as the prettiest of all the island lines, particularly at St Lawrence where the line emerged from the tunnel onto the under cliff. Closure of the Ventnor West line came in 1952 along with the Freshwater and Bembridge branch lines. In 1956 the same fate happened to the Newport-Merstone-Sandown route.

The layout itself is all built to a scale length with hand built point work using SMP code 75 rail. All the track is to a minimum of 5ft radius. The station consists of an island platform with up trains for Newport with an ash pit siding from the up platform line and a siding running parallel up to the signalbox. On the down platform there was a long stock siding where the Ventnor West push-pull set was stored overnight. Over the level crossing the two lines diverge, East to Sandown and South to Ventnor West. On the Sandown line there was a short siding that was used by the permanent way.

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