For quite a number of years now the I.O.W. Steam Railway at Havenstreet has held a steam rally over the August bank holiday weekend. We had heard that this year it was going to be held on a new site so decided to go and have a look.
Catching the 9 o’clock car ferry, we arrived at the rally at about 10.30 only to discover to our disappointment that the event was in its usual field.
It was evident by the state of the ground and the amount of straw spread over the field that there had been quite a bit of rain prior to our visit but Sunday was dry and sunny while we were there as we toured the exhibits.
We counted 15 full sized steam engines,( though the local newspaper advertised there being 40), and a good number of steam miniatures arranged on the far side of the field as usual. It did not seem that there were as many “mainland” engines present, indeed there was no large showman’s engine generating next to the gallopers which is such a feature of this event.
One engine that did draw our attention was a nice Burrell roller, No 3985, a 8ton single of 1925 carrying a large and unusual two way scarifier mounted on the offside rear wheel. Close inspection of the repairs to the headstock showed that at sometime the engine had been involved in rather a dramatic accident!
The Clayton wagon of Pete Lyons was in the line up as was Fowler T3 tractor No14406 “Mtoto”, a regular island visitor as usual presented in spotless condition and running almost silently. Wallis 8nhp Expansion No2459, a local inhabitant was busy on a sawbench.
As in other years, there was a nice selection of cars and commercials but unfortunately they did not have the space to be displayed to best effect.
Another observation was that the organisers allowed an ex army armoured personnel carrier to take part in the arena parade of military vehicles in the morning doing untold damage to the already delicate field.
In our opinion, the Havenstreet Railway Steam Railway would benefit from a larger and better organised site, with so many interesting exhibits it is a shame that they cannot be given the space to be truly appreciated by the public that they deserve. Maybe next year.. KL