SEELY SEEKS STUDY TO EXTEND RAILWAY LINE – BUT STEAM RAILWAY SAYS IT WOULD BE CHALLENGING

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The Isle of Wight Steam Railway has said that they are open to discussions with the Island’s MP and the Office for Road and Rail over initial plans to extend the commercial railway from Smallbrook to Newport.

Bob Seely MP has this week confirmed he is seeking a feasibility study to look at the options for extending the railway from Shanklin to Ventnor, as well as extending the Island Line network from Smallbrook Junction to Newport via the Isle of Wight Steam Railway’s infrastructure.

The railway at one point did run from Shanklin to Ventnor via Wroxall, but since the 1960s the land has been built on and Southern Water occupies the tunnel through St Boniface Down.

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The line from Smallbrook to Wootton is used by the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. Although the former track path to Newport remains fairly unchanged, the endpoint at Fairlee Road is now heavily built upon.

In a statement issued today (Monday) Steve Backhouse, General Manager at Isle of Wight Steam Railway, has said:

“We have a strong working relationship with our neighbours at Island Line and fully support their recently announced investment in new track and rolling stock. More generally we remain supportive of the development of public transport on the island.

“We note with interest the suggestion, put forward by Bob Seely MP, of connecting Newport to Ryde via the Steam Railway and Island Line. Whilst our Strategic Vision contains the long-term ambition to extend our line to Newport, this has significant financial and technical challenges. For the foreseeable future we, therefore, have no plans to extend westward from our current terminus at Wootton.

“Current safety legislation makes shared usage of our line challenging. Modern faster trains needed to operate a viable public transport link would not be able to operate alongside our historic wooden-bodied carriages which currently run at a maximum speed of 25mph. Significant changes would also be required to the infrastructure and signalling.

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“We are open to discussions with Bob Seely MP and the Office for Road and Rail to establish whether these challenges could be overcome”.

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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Seay
Seay
1 year ago

Would be cheaper, rather than use tens of thousands of trees to make sleepers, then have to have miles of iron rails, produced using tons of energy for tracks, when all they need do, is get Island roads to pap a thick layer of tarmac over it.

Then instead of miles of high voltage electrified line, all needing miles of fencing, warnings, cable, they could just use a private electric coach or two to use this PRIVATE road.

It doesn’t HAVE to be a train. A private coach far cheaper, easy to fix, easy to drive, safer, cleaner, less security for fences, deaths by electrocution.

THINK about it.

William Dunnet
William Dunnet
Reply to  Seay
1 year ago

Electric Railways are far better for carbon emissions than roads.
Railways are safer than Roads.
Roads still have infrastructure that needs maintenance including miles of cable for street lights.
Private roads are fenced.
We already have a road between RYDE and Newport.

Chris Thompson
Chris Thompson
Reply to  Seay
1 year ago

Sleepers are concrete these days, they are also developing new ones that can be made from recycled plastic. I am all for the railway reopening.

Thomas
Thomas
1 year ago

This would be great for the island but let’s hope it’s not just talk lets see it happen

Barry Chantler
Barry Chantler
1 year ago

Does anyone really think this will happen, up till now BS has achieved very little!
I was under the impression that the goverment has already given a few million for this .

Luke
Luke
1 year ago

If we ran the steam trains on the entire line in the summer season it would do wonders for the tourist industry on the island.
We need to make this island even more special than it is.

Seay
Seay
Reply to  Luke
1 year ago

Agree IF it were all steam it would be a great tourist attraction, but that ‘additional’ Greta would mess herself.

Also the cost of running any sort of decent service in the slack winter months would remove any undoubted gains of tourist traffic.

We would then get the same ‘excuse’ not the reason that the Ferry’s use when it is uneconomical to run to service ‘ illness’ or mechanical failures.

Truth is, we would all use it once, see it is twice the price of the bus, and never use it again.

Run a shuttle battery bus service instead.

I would love to see steam trains as Havenstreet is brill, but sadly too expensive and the young are brainwashed to see coal as worse than nuclear now.

JDF
JDF
Reply to  Seay
1 year ago

I really would like to see the evidence base for your comment “brainwashed to see coal as worse than nuclear now.” I am guessing you are unable to back up your comment. Can you also explain why you feel it is OK to put a throw away comment regards “Greta Thunberg” again can you show were you evidenced the fact she is against Heritage Steam Trains, or are you just another keyboard warrior who thinks it’s OK to belittle and demonize people just because it makes you feel superior.

William Dunnet
William Dunnet
Reply to  Seay
1 year ago

The train is cheaper than the bus!

Martin
Martin
1 year ago

Just another pipe dream from BS…trying to gain brownie points from Boris…

Daemy
Daemy
1 year ago

Seely (to ORR): “I think we should undertake a feasibility study to look at the options for extending the railway from Shanklin to Ventnor and from Smallbrook Junction to Newport.”

OOR (to Seely): Shut up Seely,.. or we’ll tell Boris.

Seely (to ORR): “OK, sorry”

Phil Stat
Phil Stat
1 year ago

I agree it would add another valuable tourist string to the Isle of Wight bow. But as a short commuting route to de-congest roads, I am sceptical. This day and age is all about convenience and flexibility. Which is perhaps our downfall.

Mario Tardelli
Mario Tardelli
1 year ago

I came to the Isle of Wight during the 1970’s and managed a couple of hotels in Sandown. It was the year before the hot summer 1975. People I knew in Ventnor were saying that when they closed Ventnor it halved the tourist numbers to the town over night. Love to see the line open back to Ventnor again, link Newport to Ryde, Sandown & Shanklin again. Let’s not kid ourselves that it’s the answer to the Island’s tourism industry’s problems, but it would be a step in the right direction. Money would not be an issue, if the will is there the money can be found.

The forgotten
The forgotten
1 year ago

What’s the matter island echo moderator, didn’t you like my comments regarding the many feasibility studies already carried out to extend the railway to Ventnor, the save the Ventnor pier fund and not forgetting the Paddle ship Ryde renovation fund.

David Moore
David Moore
1 year ago

Reopen the Sandown to Newport line via Arreton and Shide.

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