Light Rail's proposal (L) vs the new reality (R)


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Light Rail IOW has hit out over yesterday’s Island Line announcement confirming £26million of investment for the Isle of Wight’s railway network.

Roger Berrisford – who twice interrupted Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely during his speech yesterday – has said in a statement that 16th September 2019 was a ‘shameful day for Island Line’, stating that the Government ‘will have to eat its words’ because, he says, South Western Railway has ‘not delivered the more sustainable solution for Island Line that was specifically requested by the Department for Transport (DfT) Invitation to Tender’.

As previously reported by Island Echo, it was announced by Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris MP that the Isle of Wight is to receive not only new Class 484 Vivarail trains, but a passing loop at Brading and other enhancements to the local railway.

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Roger has said:

“It is also abysmal in this day and age that the DfT can see no further than heavy rail, and so another branch line is to continue with the expensive make do and mend policy which we know costs this line more than £3.5m a year instead of a new bright future of light rail with expansion.

“In 2017 Light Rail Isle of Wight (LRIoW) put forward proposals to the Isle of Wight Council that Island Line be upgraded to a modern, greener, more frequent and easily extendable new light rail system. The new service would have seen the introduction of new light weight trains and would also completely transform Ryde, opening up the seafront at Ryde Esplanade so making it accessible along its full length. The new light weight trains are a member of the Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) family with all the benefits that they can bring.

“As much as £20m could have been saved by introducing new light weight trains, the development of which is fully supported by the Office of Road and Rail and the DfT in order to make branch line rail services much more sustainable and are keen to allocate them to branch lines like Island Line”.

Roger continues:

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“It is truly shocking that our MP’s highest aspirations for the Island’s rail service is to support the cheapest option of more second-hand, old London trains when far more sustainable new light trains could be available within a similar timescale and even cheaper. Clearly he doesn’t believe Islanders deserve any better?

“Our proposals would have delivered a 15-minute service using six new lightweight trains which could in the future be extended to re-link towns such as Newport and Cowes. He appears to have taking his cue from a former Council Leader, now Tory chairman, who has also campaigned for more second hand old regurgitated London trains and it is time for the Islanders to ask why?

“Light Rail Isle of Wight is calling on the Island’s Council, the transport authority, to do the right thing and insist that the Government to treat the Island better. Other places deserve and are getting new trains – why not us?”

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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none given

Roger contradicts himself ….

As much as £20m could have been saved by introducing new light weight trains,

and then…

It is truly shocking that our MP’s highest aspirations for the Island’s rail service is to support the cheapest option of more second-hand, old London trains.

which is it roger, cheaper or not?


The total bill for the SWR trains is about £55m made up from £26m for the infrastructure and £30m for the pier renewal by Network Rail. So the maths show that the light rail starting point is about £35m. i.e. a £20m saving. This is for greater passenger capacity by having a 15 minute service including 2 extra passing places and self-powered trains. (They are not diesel.) Hope this makes it clearer for you.

none given

nope jenny it doesn’t – where is your supporting links to the figures quoted, to arrive at the alleged savings. – please provide the links to the evidence here. Thank you.

M Freeman

The savings come from the operational cost, not the up front capital investments. Light rail can operate mainly on renewable energy, from solar panels on the roof as well as track-side. Even without it, the newest City Class operate on only 1Kw per Km (*1). In comparison, diesel motor units are much heavier, making them more costly to operate. They also require more frequent maintenance than electrical motors and tend to have lower levels of reliability (*2, section 4.50 & 4.51)



That’s a nice speech, but ignores the fact that the trains coming to the island aren’t diesel but instead will be collecting from the 3rd rail that is already in place.

And note that it is relevant in this case, but there is also a battery version of this train in testing (look on YouTube).

Fred Nurke

Also look on Vivarail’s own website for accurate information.


The Battery option was looked at but due to turnaround times at Shanklin and Ryde the Batteries wouldn’t last all day.

Alexander Fisher

I have travelled on the Viva rail demonstration train which was tested on the Bo’ness and Kineil Railway which has step gradients on the line and the ride was reasonable. This was battery powered version of the train. Diesel versions are being introduced on the network. The biggest problem is the clearance in the tunnel between Ryde St Johns and the Esplanade Station, which limits the stock available for use on the line.

none given

Thank you m freeman, however, I am looking for the specific study that Iow wight light rail must have undertaken to have arrived at the conclusion of the expected £20m savings. what is the upfront capital cost to change the entire infrastructure to operate light rail and how does that impact the overall expected savings at the operational level. What timeframe have they used to arrive at a £20m saving – 20 years, 50 years? The growth in train usage on the island is limited by its location and there are only so many people commuting and travelling at any… Read more »


If your going to jump up on you’re soap box and flap your gums, at least have a speach in place that don’t make you look like a a even bigger pigeon than your already are….
Just saying..

Alana Simpson

The only thing wrong with the use of the old District line trains is the fact they are only 2 coaches. They should make each set 3 cars with ample luggage and cycle space.


The blurb says that they will run as four cars in peak periods with one set spare


Always good to hear about new investment but can’t quite understand why we are investing in a loss making transport system which by all reports I have seen, will continue to make a loss in the future.

Jon Benton

Because it lets Wightlink off the hook with the pier maintenance costs. So they have saved a fortune in the pier upkeep, yet still feel the need to increase prices for using it.
The pier should be removed from their responsibility, and a docking charge put in place instead, this would help fund it.
They will always put the price up for travel, so we would be no worse off


My friend had a permit for the pier for the cost of £45 a month one day we had to get to uni for an exam and there was no spaces she abandoned her car in a spot that didn’t inconvenience others and was told it breaches the parking terms…so we asked for a copy which they could not provide. We made a formal complaint never received the terms and conditions but she was allowed to park wherever she needed to without anybody bothering her. Shortly after she moved to mainland to save the bother of travel and the parking… Read more »


Ryde Pier is made up of 3 Piers, I would imagine the Pier investment only applies to the Railway Pier. However the cost of a passing loop being £1million seems very expensive.

Richard Shirley

Because the objective is to bring massive benefit to the local community and economy, much like schools, hospitals, social services, police etc


Sheffield have asked the government for £230 million to replace their light rails system and supertrams which are life expired after 25 years.

The Disenfranchised

We need another Shanklin to Ventnor rail re-instatement feasibility survey coupled with the “ save Ventnor pier fund (I know where the pier went but NOT the collected funds!) not forgetting the “Save PS Ryde (never a queen) and tunnelling/ bridging to the mainland…….cash cows all of em!

none given

you forgot the millions they spent on Ryde Interchange, dug one borehole in the bus station and then realised that they never included national rail, who own some of the areas they wanted to redevelop and scrapped the whole idea. Millions spent on drinks, fact finding trips, junkets, chats, lunches and other necessary get togethers. All good value for money eh.

Eyes wide shut

No I didn’t forget the Ryde interchange debacle, that was too sad to mention. The council at the time blamed Network Rail which was NOT true.


See for more detail on the Light Rail study carried out and submitted to DfT but lack of support from IoW council stymied new trains in favour of more second hand cast offs.


You got that absolutely right!


Can you please publish what you submitted to the DFT or any other formal, costed document? the website is full of ethereal words with no actual facts.


Have you guys never heard of politicians truth?
If not look up in the most upto date oxford dictionary

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