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The Isle of Westland Railway

It's better by train.......

Background to the railway


 The  Isle of Westland Railway  exists only in my imagination............... and in 16mm scale in the back garden of our home.............. I see it as an island somewhere off the south coast of the UK.



 I enjoyed holidays on the Isle of Wight when a child and remember  with pleasure the last days of steam trains on the island with the O'2 tanks living out their last days hauling sets of antiquated coaching stock. I have recently visited  the Isle of Man and have numerous books and videos on the railways on both the islands. The idea of a railway network on an island appeals to me as it is a self contained system but allows for more variety than modelling one of the relatively short lines that existed on the mainland.



The 32mm gauge track I have in my garden represents a branch line running from a junction station (Tamacandy Junct) to a small terminus (High Westland). I can assume that both my locos and rolling stock represent a small part of a larger fleet....................which gives me the excuse to keep adding models to my collection way over the level that would be reasonable for a short line. Not that I need an excuse !

 Also appearing in some pictures are other items that are not strictly part of the Isle of Westland Railway ...............................but are part of my collection that I run anyway. I considr that the railway has a local member of the gentry as an important director and this person is a railway fan who seeks to conserve some of the many railway items being lost during the time period I set for the line of the late 1950/early 1960's, hence locos such as the Welsh Highland 'Russell' being present............ I rewrite history when it suits me.



When reading the book 'North Devon Clay' by M J Messenger I was intrigued to find an example where a small narrow gauge line had its trackbed taken over by a larger narrow gauge railway company, as the route it had was the best within the geographical area concerned. The original company retained the right to run its trains of small dilapidated stock on the system beside the larger company's trains .......................and no longer had to pay maintenance costs. In addition, a bridge that was on point of collapse got replaced at no expense to the original owners! Fascinating stuff...................hence the small stock on my line labeled 'BLR'. I write into my line's history that the BLR came first and the IOWR later under similar circumstances. The BLR has a connection at Shade Gap station on my lne.



 Island systems also seemed to produce a plethora of small competing companies with little chance of economic success that later combined. I assume the same allowing a greater variety of stock. The IOWR in fact took over the Great Westland Railway....................hence loco no 12 , 'Island Maid' ( shown in the photo above) on the line. The GWR had a worse route from the ferry port to the tourist towns than the IOWR so went for a class of tender loco's to save on water stops and allow faster running times. I am not sure whether 60mph speeds were achieved......................... as recorded on the USA Sandy River Railroad 2ft track ! Mind you Captain Howey is suposed to have achieved this speed on the 15 inch Romney Hythe and Dymchurch as well. The GWR went bust and was taken over by the IOWR. 


Welcome to the railway living out its last few summer as a complete system.............the future is not something to be contemplated.............enjoy the sunshine while it lasts!