The Queen Visits Havenstreet

19 May 2004

Report by Martin Longhurst

HM The Queen visited the Isle of Wight Steam Railway to open the new Carriage & Wagon Workshop at Havenstreet, the line's headquarters.   This is my personal record of the day.   For more coverage and general information about the Railway visit their Official Website.

Jenny and I arrived at Smallbrook in good time and met our old friend and fellow volunteer, Kevin Moon.   Kevin is known for his off-beat sense of humour and did not disappoint us on this occasion.   He told us he had been keeping a brand new shirt for a special day, such as a wedding, christening or, indeed, a Royal Visit.   He produced the shirt from his holdall and this is what followed:

As you see, Jenny acted as clothes horse as the process continued.

When we got to Havenstreet, we were ushered into the Workshop to await the Queen's arrival.  You see the "before and after" comparison drawn up for Her Majesty.

The ceremony was attended by a large group of people who had helped the Project or who were volunteers at the Railway.

At about 11.55 Her Majesty entered the Workshop to applause, accompanied by Brian Bell, the Project Director, and John James (in doorway), the Workshop Manager.


Brian takes Her Majesty to have a closer look at the two carriages.

Brian then made a pithy speech, remarking on former Royal connections with the Island's railways, and then invited the Queen to mark the opening by unveiling a plaque.

She then signed a commemorative book

Following the Queen's departure for other engagements, the guests were entertained to a sumptuous buffet lunch and then were able to sample the train rides for the rest of the afternoon.

Lottery Officer Chris Tagart enjoys the fruits of his labours.   Some unkind souls suggested he should not be drinking in uniform but he insisted he had completed his day's duties.

We went for a trip on the "Royal Train," here waiting to leave Havenstreet for Smallbrook

The door handles were decorated with red, white and blue ribbons

The service train, hauled by 198 "Royal Engineer," runs into Havenstreet as the Signalman and Fireman exchange single-line tokens.

At Smallbrook Guard Kim Chalkley talks with former Directors Alan Blackburn and Graham Peters

At Wootton W8 "Freshwater" runs round her train ...

... and prepares for departure

She departs from Smallbrook with the last train

We then had a short wait to join out Island Line train for Ryde

In the meantime, unit 006 headed through for Shanklin

Plain LT red unit 009 runs in for Ryde

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