Published 10th June 2013
The Isle of Wight Steam Railway (IOWSR) has been awarded Membership of IW Council Trading Standards ‘Buy With Confidence’ Scheme. This has been achieved by offering consistently high standards to visitors. Membership is designed to give visitors and customers assurance that a business maintains high standards of customer care while offering good service and value for money.
In this instance, it was awarded after a rigorous and detailed assessment of the Railway’s food and retail outlets by the Isle of Wight Council’s Trading Standards Department.
The IOWSR has won many awards and these are on display in their catering and meeting room complex. The railway has invested a considerable amount of time and cash over the last few years in their food and retail outlets spending nearly £40,000 alone on the main shop.
Similar work took place in the main catering outlet, and this Spring the newly refurbished Refreshment Rooms at Havenstreet were opened. The new layout is designed to display and serve freshly cooked food with minimal delays, and in partnership with Mingellas, there is also a new Ice Cream Parlour offering traditional Isle of Wight ice cream.
“The Trading Standard Officers were both challenging and supportive in assessing the Railway,” said IW Steam Railway General Manager Peter Vail. “Detailed assessments were undertaken of our pricing, customer feedback and policy for dealing with any complaints. It’s great to get this recognition and to be accepted on to the scheme.”
Retail & Catering Manager, Nick Boycott said, “The layout of the shop and all the fittings were completely renewed to give a much more appealing visitor experience, and a new range of items was introduced to cater for casual visitors and for the railway enthusiast. Immediately the takings increased by 34% and the shop has been transformed from something very average to one of the best railway shops in the country!”
As the winner of many awards, the Railway is always keen to give all visitors total confidence in their experience and value for money when visiting. “It was natural for the Railway to want to be part of the ‘Buy With Confidence’ scheme,” said Peter Vail. “Membership is excellent news for us and for our visitors who can be reassured when they see our ‘Buy With Confidence’ signs!”
In formally accepting the Railway on to the scheme a certificate was presented to the Railway by Principal Trading Standards Officer Julie Woodhouse, during April.
The well known artist Geoff Bounds drew a 30" x 20" picture depicting Ventnor station and donated it to the IOWSR for fundraising purposes. Limited edition prints were produced but now the original is up for grabs. Geoff’s other prints sell from £750 upwards but the IOWSR wil listen to offers above £500.00. Sale proceeds will be donated to the IOWSR’s ‘Changing Trains’ appeal.
Please send offers to: Peter.Vail@iwsteamrailway.co.uk
The ‘Changing Trains’ project This attracted a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £970,000 last year and will help protect and secure the future of the many rare railway vehicles in their collection. These will also be displayed in the extensive under-cover accommodation due to open later this year at Havenstreet. The IOWSR owns one of the World's most important collections of historic railway rolling stock numbering around 80 items including locomotives, carriages and wagons dating back 150 years.
Glenn Drakeford, is a Graffiti ‘artist’ who was fined for his ‘work’ returned to the scene of one of his crimes recently. He went back to the IOWSR after realising how much damage he had caused in 2011. He had caused criminal damage spraying his tag on the side of a steam railway building. He was arrested and appeared in Court being given a community work sentence. Afterwards, he got in touch with Havenstreet, apologised for the damage he caused and offered to use his skills for better and legal outlets.
IOWSR general manager Peter Vail said: "When Glenn contacted the railway the sincerity of his apology and desire to work with us hit a nerve. Graffiti just happens, none of us ever see the work taking place, and this is a mysterious form of art we don’t all understand or appreciate. Now, through Glen’s contact with us, our visitors will have a unique opportunity to see the graffiti artist at work." He covered a scrap trailer at Havenstreet with his work watched by visitors.
The IOWSR does not normally operate after dark but on June 29, there is a rare chance to sample Victorian travel after dark. 'The Sundowner' will operate offering a relaxing trip across the evening island countryside, and listen to a tale or two of the Island's railways from years gone by.
To make your evening complete relax with supper at sunset in The Calbourne Room, out on our covered patio, or 'alfresco' in the Station Garden. A real treat on a Summer evening! Don’t forget your camera as there will be plenty of opportunities for photographers.
The Isle of Wight Steam Railway is located at Havenstreet Station (PO33 4DS) – 3 miles from Ryde and 3 miles from Newport – and operates a preserved 5-mile section of the former Ryde to Newport Railway. Alongside the 300-plus volunteers is a core employed workforce of 23 staff, many of whom were formerly volunteers on the Railway.
Written by Phil Marsh