The tramway was once the most popular method for passengers to reach the Island from the Pier Head. Popular in the sense of busiest - for on a hot day the cars could be humid and stuffy.
The tramway was originally powered by horse-drawn trams, later supplied by electricity from a third rail (between 1886 & 1927) and finally by two sets of Drury built diesel powered cars until closure. The existing Ryde Esplanade station can be seen in this shot to the right.
Many years after the last tram, the line still looks in surprisingly good condition - but I wouldn't volunteer to test it!
Compare this view with the painting at the end of this page.
A look down the tracks from the Pier Head end.
This superb painting of the tramway can be seen at the Isle of Wight bus museum in Newport. The painting accurately shows the lack of 'decking' under the train - a conductor could easily go for an unexpected swim if he carelessly negotiated between the two tram cars!