A SWANSONG to the Island's steam railways comes in a book due to be launched at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway on Sunday.

There have been in excess of 100 books covering different aspects of the Isle of Wight’s railway past, published since the lines to Ventnor and Cowes closed in 1966.

A new book, The Times They Are A-Changin’ borrows its title from the Bob Dylan 1965 single, which would have spinning on many an angst-ridden Island teenager’s turntable across the mid-60s era that the book covers.

It is the brainchild of ex-Islander Derek Gawn, who with his childhood chum, Phil Hayward, both of whom grew up in Ryde, spent countless hours riding on the Island steam trains.

Derek had been encouraged by a local historian to keep notes of all his observations, and they happily still survive today, and formed the nucleus of the book, coupled with his still vivid memories of those far off happy times.

At the same time a mainland student, Nick Halewood, who was unknown to Derek, was spending working summer holidays with his grandparents in Newport. A keen photographer, he took around 500 images of the last few years of the Island’s steam trains.

Cash restraints meant nearly all of them were only ever developed into negative strips, and not even printed.

In 1973, Nick left the UK to live permanently in Japan, where he remains to this day.

The old negatives were put in a drawer and largely forgotten about, until he scanned a few as trial posts on a railway interest social media page early in 2019.

There they were seen by Derek, who immediately made contact and the idea of a joint book was hatched.

Derek says the book is aimed not only at railway enthusiasts, but those with an interest in 1960s social history, and those with a general love of all things Isle of Wight.

The book is limited to a run of just 500 copies.

A book signing session is being held on Sunday, and afterwards the book will be available to purchase through the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, either from their gift shop at Havenstreet Station, or through the online shop.