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Island Line trains will not operate between 4th January and 31st March 2021 to allow for engineering works ahead of the introduction of new trains on the network, it has been announced.

South Western Railway has confirmed that for almost 3 months no trains will operate between Ryde Pier Head and Shanklin whilst work is undertaken to transform the line, including the introduction of a new passing loop at Brading.

During the service suspension work will also be undertaken to improve the track, improve platform access and install new ticket machines.

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Rail replacement buses will be in operation and a minibus will operate up and down Ryde Pier – which will be particularly important during the wet months.

One of the new trains at Vivarail in the Midlands. Photo: @SWR_Help

Alan Penlington, Customer Experience Director, at South Western Railway, has said:

“This is a very exciting project for Island Line and will transform travel on the Isle of Wight. Whilst this work will be disruptive, we will keep our customers moving with replacement buses.

“Upon completion of this critical work, we will be introducing the Class 484 trains into service, providing modern spacious interiors, free on-board Wi-Fi, at seat charging points, and dedicated wheelchair spaces.

“The new passing loop at Brading will also allow us to run a service at regular 30-minute intervals, providing better connections to ferries to the mainland.”

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As reported by Island Echo this morning, the first photos of the new Class 484 trains have been released.

Calling the trains ‘new’ may be a bit of a stretch as they are, technically, 42-years-old. The 1978 former London District Line stock has been completely overhauled by Vivarail and run on bogies from the 2000s. This is a stark contrast to the current trains being used on the Isle of Wight which are older than some of the trains running on the heritage steam railway.

The new trains will provide more capacity, better accessibility, USB charging, passenger information systems and onboard wifi. They will also allow the guard to easily pass between carriages to collect fares. As photographed above, the new trains have been fitted with a snow plough to clear debris from the tracks.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Ryan day

About time we had new trains


Would have made sense to do the work now whilst no one is going anywhere due to Covid.


Clearly you haven’t been on the trains lately!


Clearly you haven’t come out since the lockdown, lot’s of visitors on the island now..


I have actually.


Clearly you haven’t as the trains are very busy at the moment!

Old Mike

3 months! What would the Victorian Railway Kings have thought?


Please that the Victorian railways are still being maintained and used???


While its a long time coming…I hope this project is a success. Long live our tiny railway line !


Totally agree. I bet it’s not as simple as most people think it is and lots of people working hard in the background.

Mick Keegan

Let’s hope it’s not like the floating bridge in Cowes . At least the old trains work .

Horse face

The Oakfield Banksy will soon have them looking like the old ones.

Ryan day

You sound like a right snob. You are painting everyone who live in council houses with the same brush not everyone is a vandal

Horse face

It only requires one. Sadly there are more than one who are.
Watch and learn.

Geoff Hill

How true, let us find out next summer. Progress?


I would have preferred the steam train back


It’s 2020 not 1920!!

Big Wallie

Best comment on here so far:)

Mrs Rumsey

Only a handful use trains. Far wiser to have a shuttle bus system. A battery one would be quiet, anyone could drive it more easily, and safer with no power on the tracks needed.
Then it could leave each station and do a couple or more stops and pick ups in each town, dropping off and collecting passengers in more than one location, rather than dumping them a mile from their intended destinations as oft happens now.
Trains are too limited and inflexible in todays world.


Well at least the staff have something to work with now, fare rise new year,? Should get cheaper fares for the poor service we have had to put up with last 2 years, very little notice when going 1 per hour, if any, no repour with the punters when go off, boards outside stations ect,


Obviously staff putting neg next to my post, name, your self’s, are you the smokers that always hang around outside stations, not a good advert

Ian Hankinson

Could also restore rhe tracks to Ventnor, Newport & Cowes now. I won’t hold my breath

Certa Cito

Cheaper fares Bert? it’s been free since lockdown can’t get much cheaper than that !!


3 months with no trains, my guess is it will be longer than that. and what about the staff working on the trains Drivers, Guards etc, what will happen to them ???

Horse face

Trains as with Libraries and Banks, are bitterly complained about when taken away, BUT ‘if’ which they aren’t, people were totally honest, and told you when they last entered one, the reason why they are then defunct would be all to obvious.   More so if you asked these stuck in the past moaners to ‘fund’ such lame ducks.   Truth is rarely popular in todays, nice but dim, want it, but someone else pay for it, society we now have created.   Of course the few who do use it regularly will ‘kick off’ but the masses who don’t… Read more »


Nearly one million passengers were carried on islandline last year.
How many buses, cars ( electric cars will not stop gridlock) will be needed to carry this many people ( the average occupancy of a car in the UK is 1.2)
Who pays for the subsidy of these buses? No public transport system will make a profit on the island! At the moment the subsidy is paid for here on the island by the profitable routes SWR operate on the mainland. Should public transport be about profit?


The staff will be working on shuttle buses during the track closures so they won’t lose their jobs.


Pssst……the Guards aren’t the only staff Islandline employ.


Cannot see why all this money is to be spent refurbishing old stock and putting in new track.
The railway goes from Shanklin to Ryde what is the point. Why not get all the track up and replace it with a footpath and cycle track. There is already a decent bus service from Ryde to Shanklin.


Commuters, tourists, elderly, school children, vulnerable people all use islandline, should we tell them all to get their bicycles out?
And yep let’s clog up the A3055 with more buses, makes sense.
And how do you get people up the Pier to the ferry using buses? How inconvenient to have to change modes of transport to get up the pier!


What a stupid comment – have you actually seen how busy the trains are????
The bus is always getting stuck in traffic and how does the bus get up the pier??


They do need replacing, never seen such tatty stock. Shame that the tourism side hasn’t caught on to the popularity of a steam railway, that would be an all year draw. Perhaps they should never have closed the rail network on Island that would have resolved the traffic congestion. As for electric vehicles, they will not catch on until charging points are increase and the cost of vehicle and battery replacement comes down in price, we are in the biggest financial crisis ever with unemployment also being high where do they think people will get the money to purchase an… Read more »

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