Early days of the Railway question
ISLE OF WIGHT OBSERVER September 11, 1852
Robert Stephenson visits the Island – 1852
RAILWAY – On Friday a report was very widely circulated, that a very respectable party in London had sent a gentleman down, offering to pay all expenses the town of Newport had gone to, about the improvement of the river, and to lay a rail from East Cowes to Newport; thence to Merston, where there would be a branch line from Ryde to meet; and from thence to Shanklin and Ventnor. We hear that some of the landowners are favourable to it; but a meeting of the council was held, last evening, at the council chamber, to take it into consideration, the result of which we hope to be able to give in our next.
September 18, 1852
A RAILWAY IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT – Persons are stationed at various points in the Isle of Wight to ascertain the traffic, with a view of bringing forward a scheme for a Railway very shortly. Mr Stephenson, the celebrated engineer, is on a professional visit at the present time; and we hear, the notices will be issued at the proper time for an application to Parliament for that purpose. If a rail can be so constructed as not to interfere with the beauties of the Island, we should hail with satisfaction the realisation of such a scheme; the advantage of which to Ventnor, Shanklin, as well as other places, if only in the article of coal, are obvious to all. The agriculturalist also would reap great profit by the more easy transport of his commodities, and much of the expense (little of which is defrayed by tolls) would be saved in the enormous wear and tear of the roads. We should advise our island friends however to refrain from taking shares; rather let the Railway Company interested in securing the traffic for their main line bear the brunt of it.
RAILWAY – We said in our last we hoped to be able to give a report of the meeting of the Town Council, which was held on Thursday evening last, to take into consideration the offer of a company in London, to lay down a line in the Isle of Wight. It was decided to do nothing in the matter until they heard more from the Company, who were waiting to hear the feeling of the landed proprietors upon the subject, and that, if they meant to carry out their offer, to call a public meeting of the inhabitants, to have the general feeling expressed upon it.
September 25, 1852
THE PROJECTED RAILWAY – A private meeting, convened, we believe, by some of the shareholders of the Pier Company, but whether instigated by their hopes or fears we know not, the Press not being invited, was held at the Town Hall on Monday. We can only glean that the meeting was composed of Dr Lind, Captain Brigstocke, Mr Yelf, Mr Marvin, Mr John Woodrow, Mr Hellyer, Mr Taplin, and one or two more, and that an unmistakeable feeling in favour of a Railway was manifested. Without at all questioning the right of any gentleman to hold a meeting in whatever manner they choose, still we think in a matter of such great importance as the establishment of a Rail, the public have a claim to a report of their deliberations, as frequently out of such a close meeting great events spring, as in the case of the Public Health Act here.