South Western Railway have revealed that the Island’s 80-year-old trains could be replaced with a diesel, battery or flywheel powered locomotive, a tram or even a guided bus lane.
The train operator, which took over the running of Island Line earlier this year, has stated in a consultation document published this week that the Class 483 former London Underground trains are no longer viable, with parts availability becoming an issue and limited capability of electricity supply.
A number of alternative options are being considered by SWR including introducing self-propelled flywheel trains (as seen on the Stourbridge Line in the West Midlands); self-propelled diesel trains or self-propelled battery trains. A tram/train hybrid is also on the cards, as is developing a brand new type of train specifically for Island Line.
As well as exploring options for new trains, SWR say there is a possibility of the Ryde to Shanklin line being converted into a dedicated guided bus way.
South Western Railway say that a self-powered train which can be accommodated on the existing infrastructure is the best way forward for Island Line. The company has indicated that a battery or flywheel powered system would be preferred to save on the cost of replacing the third rail system and avoiding the storage and air pollution concerns associated with a diesel powered train.
The final proposal won’t be revealed until May 2018 a costed option is submitted to the Department for Transport.