First MTR take over the South West rail franchise from Stagecoach South West Trains on Sunday morning (20th August), marking the start of an era of changes for not only Island Line but train services across the South. The franchise will last at least 7 years.
A consultation document on the options available for Island Line will be launched towards Late September/Early October. The options have to take into consideration electrical power supply issues and gauging restraints. Following a period of consultation, a plan will be submitted to the Department for Transport in Spring 2018.
Although the exact changes are yet to be finalised, it is thought new trains will be introduced to the Island to replace the 1938 rolling stock currently used. Furthermore, SolentGo will be integrated into a smartcard scheme and Islanders can expect free wifi at stations. A £50,000 customer and community improvement fund will also be launched.