A Brief History of Whitwell Station

The Newport, Godshill and St Lawrence Railway was perhaps one of the most spectacular railway lines on the island, threading its way through rich downland, typical of the south of the island, through to the rugged coastline and wonderful sea views at St Lawrence and on to the terminus at Ventnor Town.

The line initially opened in July 1897 - with trains terminating at St Lawrence. It was not until 1900 that the final stretch from St Lawrence to Ventnor Town was opened.

Operated by the Isle of Wight Central Railway in 1913, the line always struggled to attract sufficient customers to make it financially viable. After more reorganisation there was a take-over by the Southern Railway in 1923 where steps were taken to reduce running costs.

Whitwell Station had two platforms - serving as a passing loop for trains for the single-track route - and was the only station on the branch line to have this. The passing loop on the down platform was closed in 1926, but eventually removed in 1928, along with the original signal box - as another cost saving measure. Whilst it was a lifeline for many, tourists continued to use the more direct alternative routes. This coupled with the advent of the start of the motoring age, left the line with fewer and fewer passengers, until its eventual closure in 1952. Ironically, on its last day, passenger numbers were the busiest ever seen, with locals and enthusiasts wanting to be part of the last trip!

Whitwell Station circa 1920
Whitwell Station circa 1920
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