Isle of Wight Steam Railway awarded grant to construct an all-weather tourist facility

The Isle of Wight Steam Railway (IWSR) has been awarded a grant of £116,000 from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. This will enable the Railway to construct a 360 square metre barn in the Havenstreet station show field, the venue of a range of events including the Island Steam Show, 1940s Experience, Island Real Ale Festival and Island Motor Show. The total cost of the project will be close to £300,000 and will provide a substantial all-weather space for events and a variety of functions.

Isle of Wight Steam Railway Chairman Peter Conway said “We’ve been staging events at Havenstreet for some 45 years and a constant challenge is the weather. Our solution has been to use marquees. This has served us well but to expand our tourist season and visitor experience a permanent structure has been our wish for many years. This grant means we can go ahead.”

Work is due to commence in September and will be completed by May 2020. The barn will therefore be available for many events next year.

The Railway’s Commercial Manager, Richard Hale commented “This new barn will enhance our many long-established events and will allow us to be creative in introducing new ones, in particular out of season. These may include a Winter Real Ale Festival and a range of exhibitions that have previously not been possible.”

The Railway anticipates the new facility will create additional volunteer opportunities and a number of paid jobs. Extending the tourist season is an ongoing focus of Visit Isle of Wight and this development will assist that aim.