"There are several railways in the Isle of Wight, and on the whole the service is punctual and the carriages are convenient and comfortable. The principal of these lines is called the Isle of Wight Railway, and runs from Ryde Pier Head, along a new iron pier built by the joint railway companies who own the steampackets; the line, after passing Ryde Esplanade station, dips under the Esplanade and rises to the surface again at the Duver, stopping at St. John’s station; thence it proceeds southward for four miles, stopping at Brading, where passengers for St. Helen’s and Bembridge alight for change of carriage. Two miles further the train stops at Sandown, where a change is necessary for those wishing to traverse the line running thence through the valley of Arreton to Newport. Two miles beyond Sandown another call is made, Shanklin, and on fête days at the Landguard Manor Cricket Ground, half-a-mile before Shanklin station is reached, a pull up is made for passengers to alight on the temporary platform at the entrance of the ground. This provides accommodation for Lake and the new Home of Rest given by Mrs Harvey, of the Cliff, Shanklin, to the Winchester Council of the Girls’ Friendly Society. Three miles further and the train stands in Wroxall station, where tickets are collected, the next station, beyond the downs, being Ventnor, the terminus. The railway is under the management of Mr. H. K. Day, whose offices are at the Sandown station.
Another service starts from the same platform at the head of Ryde Pier, calling at the Esplanade and St. John’s road stations. It then takes a deviation to the right, calling at Ashey (3 miles from Rvde), Haven Street (4 miles), Wootton (5 miles), Whippingham (6 miles), and Newport (8 miles). This line is known as the Ryde and Newport Direct. Mr. H. Simmonds is the manager. He also manages other railways in connection; viz., the Isle of Wight (Central), running from Sandown to Newport; the Newport and Cowes, and the Newport and Freshwater. The first sod has just been turned, with public ceremony, at Merston, of a proposed new branch railway from that point, through Godshill and Whitwell to St Lawrence, near Ventnor.
The passenger once at Newport, he can proceed thence to most of the other parts of the Island. For instance, starting from Sandown, Alverstone, Newchurch, Horringford, Merstone, Blackwater, and Shide are passed in order to reach Newport. Travelling by certain trains he finds it unnecessary to change at Newport in order to get to Cowes, while the Cowes passengers from Ryde will join the Sandown train, which proceeds to Cowes, calling (by signal) at Ddnor (close to Newport) and Mill Hill (close to West Cowes).
Passengers to Freshwater are taken by a train which has to be shunted at the Newport station from the Cowes to the Freshwater Lines. This train runs through Carisbrooke, Calbourne, Ningwood, and Yarmouth, to Freshwater (and for Totland Bay, &c.) There is also a small railway from Bembridge to Brading, calling en route at St. Helen’s. "
There are few places, perhaps, in the kingdom where greater facilities are provided for coach and carriage excursions than in the Isle of Wight. From all the principal towns these charming trips are run most fine days during the season. Visitors should not let the opportunity pass of indulging in one of the finest coach excursions it is possible to make in any part of Great Britain, the scenery through which the coaches are taken being superb in every charm of Nature. "
The Minerva Isle of Wight Pictorial and Guide - circa 1900