The arrival of a large crane at Ryde St John’s station today (Tuesday) drew the attention of enthusiasts and passers-by as efforts were undertaken to lift the ageing carriages off the track and onto flatbed lorries.
Built in 1938 for the London Underground, the 83-year-old trains have been serving the Isle of Wight since 1989. However, they have now been officially retired and will soon be replaced by refurbished Class 484 trains as part of a £26million investment programme. The last Class 483 ran on 3rd January 2021.
It’s thought that the units lifted at Ryde today are most likely heading to the scrap heap, but other carriages are set to be preserved at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. Originally, it was planned that The London Transport Traction Group at the Epping Ongar Railway in Essex would take another train but now it will be heading to a ‘private location’.
In order to secure one of the historic Island Line trains, organisations needed to demonstrate the capacity and financial security to remove and look after the train, as well as a suitable long-term physical location.
The history of the Class 483s
Originally built in 1938, these trains operated London Underground’s Northern Line until they were withdrawn from service in the late 1980s.
In July 1989, the first of the 1938 stock, now the Class 483, arrived on the Isle of Wight to operate the 8.5-mile Island Line, from Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin.
The trains have now seen over 80 years of passenger service, 30 of which have been on Island Line.
In September 2019, South Western Railway announced £26million of investment in Island Line that would see the Class 483 replaced by VivaRail’s Class 484 trains, as well as improvements in infrastructure allowing for a trains service at regular 30-minute intervals.
In keeping with Island Line’s tradition of former London Underground trains, the new trains will be refurbished former District Line trains, but with modern features including WiFi, passenger information screens and dedicated wheelchair spaces.