The Isle of Wight railway line will be closed for three months for a major £26m overhaul, which has also seen it say goodbye to some iconic rolling stock.
The Class 483 trains (pictured below) date back to 1938 and were originally built for the London Underground. They were the oldest rolling stock on the national network and enjoyed a final day of service on Sunday (3 January).
South Western Railway’s outgoing managing director Mark Hopwood said it had been 'a truly iconic train fleet' that was '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.'
He added:'While this may be an emotional end to one era, it’s also the start of an exciting new one. The £26m 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.'
The Island Line has closed for track and platform upgrades from Shanklin to Ryde Pier Head and will take on new Vivarail Class 484 trains in the spring, which are also converted former Tube trains from the London Underground's District Line.
The railway uses former London Underground trains because of the limited height of Ryde tunnel.
While the work is carried out buses will run between Shanklin and Ryde Esplanade and a minibus will operate along Ryde Pier for ferry connections.
The upgrade includes a new passing loop at Brading designed to allow trains to run every half hour to Ryde pier.
The Department for Transport is paying for the scheme, with £1m for the passing loop coming jointly from Isle of Wight Council and Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.