The ex-London Underground trains were formally retired from use on Island Line on January 3rd 2021.

VIDEO: THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT – CLASS 483 TRAINS RETIRED AFTER 30 YEARS ON ISLAND LINE

They have been trundling along the tracks between Ryde Pier Head and Shanklin for over 30 years, but the much-adored Class 483 former London Underground trains have now been retired following completion of the last passenger service tonight (Sunday).

The last train – 006 – arrived at Ryde St John’s Road at 23:21 but there was no fanfare to be seen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, 006 quietly pulled away from the station and into the depot sidings to mark the end of an era.

Within minutes the electricity was isolated and the line officially handed over contractors who took possession at 23:30.

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A small number of people gathered for photographs of the retiring Island Line fleet, as they have been doing along the line for several months following the announcement that the Class 483s would finally be replaced.

Earlier on today 007 also ran for the last time, carrying out passenger operations until around 11:00. Both trains have carried a special destination plate entitled “483 Final Day 1989-2021”.

Class 483s at St John’s Depot now awaiting disposal

Readers will know the unmistakable clickity clack of the trains and that distinctive whistle but the line will now fall silent for 3 months as part of a £26million investment in Island Line. Track and platform adjustments will take place in January, February and March to enable the new Class 484 trains to enter service. A 30-minute timetable will come into operation in May thanks to a new passing loop which is to be created at Brading.

In the past few weeks, engineers have been struggling to keep the 80-year-old trains in operation with the service often suspended or down to an hourly service. However, hard work has paid off allowing the last 2 trackworthy trains to run for one final time this weekend. It is estimated that each train has completed over 3million miles over the past 8 decades.

L-R: Maintenance Fitters at Ryde depot Kieran Heatherington, Tony Long and Ian Butcher (Interim Depot Manager)

The trains are now set to be preserved both here on the Island and on the mainland. It has been confirmed, for the first time, that the Isle of Wight Steam Railway is to receive 2 carriages which will be preserved at Havenstreet. The London Transport Traction Group will take custody of another 2. It’s unknown at this time where the other carriages will end up.

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Mark Hopwood, Managing Director of South Western Railway, has said:

“Today we’re saying goodbye to a truly iconic train fleet which is held in great affection by people living on the Island and elsewhere.

“These trains had already been carrying passengers for half a century by the time they arrived on the Island in 1989, coincidentally the same year that I started my first job on the railway, but they have served our customers well – even if they have on occasion shown their age. This is in no small part thanks to the exceptional team at Ryde Depot, who have gone above and beyond to keep the trains running.

“While this may be an emotional end to one era, it’s also the start of an exciting new one. The £26 million being invested in new trains and major infrastructure upgrades will help to deliver a railway fit for 2021, with performance and customer experience both set to be transformed”.

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By chance, it is 4 years ago to the day that Floating Bridge No.5 retired from service after more than 40 years.

006 approaching Quay Lane bridge to the north of Brading on 2nd January 2020

The history of the Class 483s

Originally built in 1938, these trains operated London Underground’s Northern Line during the war years and until they were withdrawn in the late 1980s having already completed over 40 years’ service.

In July 1989, the first of the 1938 stock (now the Class 483) arrived on the Isle of Wight to operate the 8.5-mile Island Line from Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin. The first carriages to arrive were 10184 and 11184 and they continued to operate until they were scrapped in 2006.

A Class 483 passing between Ryde St John’s and Smallbrook Junction in snowy conditions

When the ex-Underground stock arrived on the Island they were displayed with a ‘toothpaste’ livery, which by the early 2000s changed to a rather unique and brightly coloured Dinosaur livery. By 2007 a more toned down livery was applied – the London Transport red we see today.

Each train, which can travel up to 45mph, is made up of 2 cars with each car measuring 15.94m in length. The trains are powered by a 630v DC 3rd rail system.

The future of Island Line

In September 2019, South Western Railway announced £26m of investment in Island Line that would see the Class 483s replaced by VivaRail’s Class 484 trains, as well as improvements in infrastructure allowing for a trains service at regular 30 minute intervals.

In keeping with Island Line’s tradition of former London Underground trains, the new trains are refurbished former District Line trains but with modern features including WiFi, passenger information screens and dedicated wheelchair spaces.

The first of these new trains arrived on the Island on 19th November 2020. A total of 5x 2-car trains have been ordered and are expected to be in service for decades to come. They are displayed in a dark and light blue livery.

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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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Shinx
Shinx
1 year ago

Sad to see them go

Joe Bloggs
Joe Bloggs
1 year ago

Thanks to Covid, I never got to have a final ride on them. I will miss them. Thanks to the staff at Ryde St Johns for the work they did to keep these old ladies on the tracks, a true miracle.

caroline
caroline
Reply to  Joe Bloggs
1 year ago

I totally agree with you, the engineers have been fantastic, I shall miss them going past my garden and sounding the whistle.

The Cats' Pawl
The Cats' Pawl
1 year ago

Will certainly miss them. Not that I used them hardly at all, but the sound of them clattering along the track, always a sign of rain when you could hear them more clearly.

Love history, and it is always better to have practical history, as in being able to travel in such, rather than just gawp at it in a museum.

Let’s hope Havenstreet make good use of them and give them the respect they have earn’t.

Tom
Tom
1 year ago

One is going to be preserved and ran at the Epping Ongar Railway. I hope they will paint one of the new ones in the dinosaur livery. 🙂

Last edited 1 year ago by Tom
John Doe
John Doe
1 year ago

Where they belong now..in the past.Uncomfotable,cold,noisy and looking dilapidated.Looking forward to the sleek refurbished replacements.
Can’t say I will be shedding any tears over thier demise

John Lidstone
John Lidstone
Reply to  John Doe
1 year ago

enjoy the deafening monotone high-pitched screech of the new trains….I reckon those living near stations will sorely miss the old ones once the horribly noisy class 484s start running,….

John Doe
John Doe
Reply to  John Lidstone
1 year ago

Safer on level crossings then

Steve McCombe
Steve McCombe
1 year ago

Well done, Ryde Depot staff, for keeping a maximum of two 483s running until 3 January.

 

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