The Railway Debate

The debate continues – 1858

Isle of Wight Observer September 11, 1858

An army of surveyors have taken the Island by storm, and that, too, without encountering much opposition, with the object of preparing plans for a Railway between Ryde, Ventnor, and Newport. There are three schemes in preparation, but only one has as yet, been submitted to public notice, which was done at Ventnor on Tuesday evening, and enthusiastically received by a large meeting. This scheme was represented by Mr Birkenshaw, who projected and successfully carried out the Lymington branch and other small lines, and by Messrs Hearn and Mew as the local agents. It is proposed that the terminus at Ryde shall be near Mr Dashwood’s timber yard, and the line to go by Little Whitefield to Rowlands, where there will be a junction; one branch going by way of Lower Knighton and Alverstone to Sandown, and thence by Lake to Shanklin; taking a detour round the base of Cook’s Castle to Wroxall it will enter Ventnor near the quarry:- the other branch will go on by way of Briddleford, Smallgains and Fairlee to Newport. Such are the outlines of a plan launched by an independent company who are ready, at once, to embark half the required capital amongst themselves, in the firm belief that it will be remunerative; but one thing should be carefully borne in mind, namely, if it be not constructed without being accompanied by the abominable jobbery usually practised by engineers and solicitors in such cases, it cannot pay. But if the scheme should meet with no opposition from landholders, and it should be carried out in a fair manner; and consequently, reasonable fares and ample accommodation be afforded to the public, there is every probability of its paying well, and proving a source of great benefit to the towns connected. The inhabitants would, however, do well to be very cautious in not taking shares until such time that the promoters are well known, and their object perfectly understood.

Isle of Wight Observer September 18, 1858
ISLE OF WIGHT RAILWAY – Since our last week’s publication, nothing has been publicly done in reference to the above scheme. The prospectus has not yet made its appearance, so as to enable us to judge of the project comprehensively. We however find upon enquiry that the engineer Mr Birkenshaw, is well known in the Railway world, and has been most successful in projecting and completing Lines of a character similar to the Isle of Wight one and that his coadjutors are bona fide men. If all we hear, from quarters supposed to be well-informed be true, this enterprise willl not result in the same manner as those did of 1847 and 1852, viz., the mere bursting of a bubble. One thing we know, that capitalists view the scheme very favourably, which is saying a great deal in the present state of the market with regard to Railway property.

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