Residents in Ryde will have seen a much welcomed sight in the Solent this week as Hovertravel’s ‘Solent Express’ hovercraft undertakes sea trials in the area.
Following a mechanical fault over two years ago, Solent Express was withdrawn from service by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Now, after a number of modifications and repairs have been made to the craft in Southampton, development trials off of Ryde’s shoreline have been taking place. The craft is not however certified by the Maritime Coastguard Agency for returning to passenger operation as of yet.
The trials will include transits in the Solent and static tests on Ryde Sands, as Island Echo photographed yesterday afternoon.
It is not currently known when Solent Express will return to its normal Ryde-Southsea operations, however Hovertravel have only timetabled a existing two-craft service for the summer.