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Island Line under threat

Discussion in 'Heritage railways & Centres in the Uk' started by Shaggy, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. Shaggy

    Shaggy Active Member

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    Not strictly a heritage line so feel free to move the thread to a more appropriate forum if deemed fit to do so:

    http://www.iwcp.co.uk/news/news/island-line-needs-40m-over-next-four-years-86442.aspx
    Doesn't look like the political will for railways is going to last too much longer? Would be a massive shame not just for the island itself but for those that use it when on their holidays.

    Could this however be an opportunity for the IOWSR or would the financial burden be a step too far?
     
  2. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator Friend

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    Think we are going to start seeing a lot of hyper-inflated figures for repairs ( remember Ribblehead!) in the coming years, as government and the operators seek to make closures more palatable to the electorate.
    Would Ryde pier need repairing if the railway wasn't on it, for use by Ferries etc? How much of that £8millions is directly attributable to the railway?
    I expect that if the IOWSR were minded to take over the line, they may possibly find that repairs could be done for less.
    But, at the end of the day, how much expenditure is justifiable to keep the line open?
     
  3. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Well-Known Member

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    The difficulty IMHO with the Island Line is that you have a small line that would make a lot more sense were it to be reinstated to Ventnor and Newport - Cowes.

    In addition the tunnel at Ryde severely restricts the loading gauge, so you are very restricted in what you can run.

    In some way, had BR's plan to use Ivatt 2-6-2's come to fruition it might have been a much better option, that and keeping it open to Ventnor/Cowes................
     
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  4. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Part of the furniture

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    This has all come about because our MP and his transport adviser have recently been trying to sell the idea of running Island Line as a 'community railway', seemingly out of a delusion that it could be run like a theatre or library, but with people now aware of the costs and the SWT franchise renewal brought forward to 2017 there's been a notable backlash - now they are trying to convince people the alternative is closure.

    IMO the cost and political fallout of setting a precedent for closure wouldn't be worth what little money it saved for a national government, so clearly that's where the responsibility should remain.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2015
  5. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres

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    So who can afford to buy it? not the council, they are skint, The steam railway can't without outside help, So, its highly likely that some time in 2017, the last train between Ryde and Shankin will run, some 50 years after the line was electrified, Ryde St Johns might make a good brown belt housing site so could be used in some way soften the blow, but that would leave the island reliant on expensive buses, with no need to run passenger ferries from Portsmouth, they could go, leaving foot passengers to catch the car ferry to Fishbourne, The IOWSR, would have a major problem though , as they would go from no where to no where, with no regular bus service to Havenstreet,, they might have to provide their own, this is what you get when MP's play politics, Ryde pier its self if it needs expensive work, would also be at risk, as without the railway, or ferries, there would be no use for it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2015
  6. 99Z

    99Z Active Member

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    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015
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  7. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Its more that SWT want rid of it , I would guess that exsisting stock is worn out, spares will becoming a problem, and the railway pier is in need of very expensive work, the island franchise includes the track and stations, so SWT would be liable, there is no suitable stock without expensive rebuilding that can fit because of the loading gauge, modern vehicles are too long, If the local bus company were a Stagecoach group operator, they would just give up and use busses , SWT as much as said that, of course ,passengers would have to still have to walk to the pier head, unless wightlink were to divert services to fishborne, then of course buses could go direct to the ferryport, but with the state of local roads how long before these stop ? if connections can not be met?
     
  8. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I Wonder, the closure of Island line would have a drastic effect on the steam railway, they would want to try to protect their route into Ryde St Johns, now, if island line closed that could give them the entire station site so no problem with sharing platforms with electric traction, so what if the only deal was that they had to take the whole route minus the pier, in other words shanklin to esplanade , or lose any chance of getting to Ryde as it may be developed , at least if the line was closed they would not have to operate any services beyond small brook but would have the track bed of the route to shanklin to protect it from any brading bypass .
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2015
  9. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Resident of Nat Pres

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    I thought that was what they were elected for? :confused:

    Tom
     
  10. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Well-Known Member

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    The main railway connection these days seems to be by Hovertravel, not the ferries, so the pier isn't an issue as far as I can see - how many passengers come via Ryde Pier Head these days?
     
  11. gwalkeriow

    gwalkeriow Active Member

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    In my experience quite a few.
     
  12. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Gary, if the island line were to close, would the IOWSR seek to protect its route into St Johns Stn?
     
  13. gwalkeriow

    gwalkeriow Active Member

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    I imagine it would, one way or another. In the event of Island line closing Esplanade would be a more public Terminus IMHO. St Johns is a little hidden away in the town.
     
  14. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Part of the furniture

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    That simply isn't an option for SWT or any other franchise. As the cost of mitigating any closure (such as getting buses up Ryde Pier) is likely to dwarf the short-term costs of keeping Island Line going in it's current guise the status quo is likely to remain the easiest solution for the DfT, though I'm sure they'd love to have the decision (and the cost) taken out of their hands - hence the madness of what our MP is proposing.

    The Catamaran is the more popular option, especially with rail passengers as it's a more convenient connection at Ryde and walking up the ramp at Portsmouth Harbour easily beats getting a connecting bus from Southsea - plus, unlike the Hovercraft, the new Cats can operate in almost all weather conditions with substitute craft available should they have issues.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2015
  15. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres

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    and you would have a ready made market of holiday makers to tap into
     
  16. gwalkeriow

    gwalkeriow Active Member

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    I was on the substitute craft last week on a rather bumpy crossing with a 13 min connection at Portsmouth which was reduced to 5 mins due to the slow crossing. I still had to purchase my ticket as the computer at Pierhead said no! Got my train by the skin of my teeth.
     
  17. paulhitch

    paulhitch Part of the furniture

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    On my approximately weekly journeys on Island line since it re-opened the numbers on trains I have been on have been pitiful except at school outmuster time. Presumably the alternatives used during the closure period have proved to have their charms.
    There is another exception of course, namely those using the train to get along the pier from the boats.

    Incidentally why, in the event of Island Line closing, why should anyone seek to prevent a Brading bypass. Just to be awkward?

    PH
     
  18. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Part of the furniture

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    I've not personally noticed any obvious difference in passenger numbers, the greatest impact on fare revenue must be what I assume is a recent prohibition on guards using the interconnecting doors to check tickets, at least while on the move.
     
  19. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Well-Known Member

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    I used it about two years ago. We were staying at the Haven site in Shanklin and my children wanted to go on a train in the dark - it was the October half term. I was surprised how well used the evening services were.
     
  20. David R

    David R Active Member

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    A difficult one. Presumably the full savings are only possible if the Portsmouth to Ryde CAT is closed (otherwise you still have to renovate Ryde pier). So if Ryde Pier has to be maintained then it is the cost of new stock (D Trains anyone?) and electrical renewal - D trains means no electrics so signalling and track renewal - £32M?

    Sounds like a negotiating tactic to me - anyone any idea what SWT/Network Rail what to get out of this or is it extortion of the Local Council for some money?

    David R
     

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