Brading Railway Heritage Centre provides information on the local area as well as an interesting history of the railways on the Isle of Wight. A selection of leaflets on walks in the local area are available as well as leaflets covering island attractions, also a range of books about the history of the railway and the Isle of Wight. The delightful tearoom offers delicious homemade cakes, tea/coffee and freshly made sandwiches and paninis.
May – October Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Saturday 10-16.00
Brading Station was built in 1864, the same time that the railway line was opened from Ryde St. John’s to Shanklin, two years later it finally opened to Ventnor. There was also a branch from Brading to Brading Quay, later extended to St Helens in 1878 and Bembridge in 1882. This branch closed in 1953. The main line itself was threatened with closure in 1963, being reprieved with economies including using ex-tube trains in 1967. The station building was declared redundant for railway use and was threatened with demolition, but in 1989 following concerted effort by Brading Town Trust and Town Council the Station complex was protected by being given Grade II listing, and re-opened to the public in 2005. It is now operated as a heritage centre by Brading Town Council, and the signal box is also open to view at certain days in the week (charges apply). Brading remains an active railway station with a service of two trains an hour between Shanklin and Ryde Pier Head.
The signal box was opened in 1882, the same year that the branch line to Bembridge was opened. It now looks too far from the platform but the intervening space was once used for the branch train to Bembridge. All the train movements were controlled from the signal box where 30 levers set the signals and switched the trackwork. Each time a train was sent off or received there were signals to be set and points to be switched. As there could be ten trains daily in each direction on the main line and eleven trains arriving from Bembridge life was very busy for the Brading signalman.