Thanks to the dedication of engineers from South West Trains- Network Rail Alliance, Keltbray and S&T Cover Ltd, the damaged track has been repaired and reinforced allowing the service to resume earlier than expected. Initially predicting that repairs could take up to three weeks, teams of engineers worked through the most difficult weather conditions at 20 different locations to enable the service to reopen after only two weeks.
Some 770 tonnes of ballast, the material designed to support railway tracks, the equivalent of 577 average cars, was delivered to the Island by ferry shortly after it was hit by heavy rain and flooding before Christmas.
As well as repairing the damage, new measures have been put in place to offer protection against future bad weather. At Smallbrook junction, waste pipes have been placed at ground level for the width of the track alongside ballast, this will help to prevent further wash outs as there are channels for any water to escape. Concrete boards have also been fitted to the posts inserted to support the ballast and a large number of old tree trunks that were diverting water towards the railway have been removed.
Empty trains will be run throughout today (Saturday) to ensure that track is back to normal and ready for service on Sunday morning. Depot staff will also examine and undertake planned maintenance on the units that have been stranded in Shanklin since the storms.
Repairs at the flood damaged depot at Ryde St Johns have also completed and further work is ongoing to repair the two units that received flood damage. Although repairs are expected to take a couple of months, they shouldn’t have an impact on the Island Line service.
Area Manager for Island Line, Andy Naylor said:
“We are very grateful to our passengers for their patience during this difficult time. We are very happy that the repairs have both gone to plan and have been completed ahead of time. Our staff and contractors have had some difficult conditions to deal with, but repairs have gone well. We’ve also taken the opportunity to strengthen some areas to protect the track against future bad weather.”