Island Line train services between Ryde and Shanklin are set to be suspended for 10 weeks during the first part of 2015 as over £2million is invested into making repairs to the network following last year’s winter storms.
The engineering project to repair the storm-damaged rail network will begin on Monday 12th January and will help to future proof the network for years to come, as well as repairing the damage caused by the storms over Christmas 2013.
The line will be closed between Ryde St Johns Road and Shanklin so that a permanent repair can be made to stabilise the slope at Sandown.
The repairs involve the installation of two high level steel retaining walls, one at the base of the bank that is inserted four metres into the ground and a second at the top of the bank, nine metres deep. Some 4,000 tonnes of new granular fill material will be brought in to re-grade the slope. To help prevent a build-up of water behind the retaining walls, weep holes and drainage will be dug.
Engineers are also taking advantage of the line closure and will undertake normal track maintenance during the daytime. Some signalling components, rails and sleepers will be replaced along with maintenance at the sub-station.
In February, 770 tonnes of ballast, the material designed to support railway tracks, the equivalent of 577 average cars, was delivered to the Island by ferry shortly after it was hit by heavy rain and flooding. Although the repair work initially carried out at Sandown was only a temporary measure, the work has helped protect the network throughout the year and the work starting in January 2015 will help to protect the line for years to come.
During the engineering work, a rail replacement bus service will run between Shanklin Station, Lake (High Street), Sandown (Broadway), Brading (Bullring) and Ryde St Johns Station. A revised train service will operate between Ryde St Johns Road, Ryde Esplanade and Ryde Pier Head. Smallbrook Junction will not be served during this time.
Rail ticket holders will also be able to use Southern Vectis Route 2 and 3 service buses between Ryde and Shanklin in both directions.
Plans are also in place to provide additional coach services on school days for the benefit of schoolchildren. Trains connecting the Pier Head and Esplanade will maintain connections with Wightlink and Hovertravel.
For more information about the bus replacement service, please go to: http://www.southwesttrains.co.uk/island-line-timetable.aspx
Area Manager for Island Line, Andy Naylor said:
“More than £2 million is being invested in the repair and maintenance of the network, highlighting our commitment to providing a quality network until the end of the franchise.
“We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may cause but we’d like to reassure our customers that we’re working hard to keep disruption to a minimum whilst ensuring the repairs provide the protection that the network needs.”
Passengers will be updated regularly via posters at stations and the website.