(All 7.8.2016 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)
As part of my long weekend 60th birthday celebrations we took a trip to the Isle of Wight on Sunday and rather than use the steam railway we preferred (as we had three non railfans) to take a trip on the electric line from Ryde Esplanade down to Shanklin. It's been almost 40 years since I last travelled on the Isle of Wight trains and it was nice to see that not too much had changed! Still the old underground stock, although newer than the last time I was there, surprised to see the pier was single track (with the second track still in place) and nice to see two new stations since my last visit (Smallbrook Junction and Lake). The trains we used were both full, which was good to see. Shanklin was a far more interesting destination than Wootton would have been, with the seaside busy and some nice pubs and restaurants along the front.
A real treat was the hovercraft that took us over to the island. This is a wonderful service, quick and busy. It kept the 'real heritage' experience going, the 60s feel of the hovercraft and the earlier feel of the trains providing an experience of real history still doing the job it's supposed to. A highly recommended day out. My next WILL include the steam railway!