It's been a long wait: Island Line re-opens


The ‘new and improved’ Island Line on the Isle of Wight finally opened to passengers on Monday.

A new Class 484 train set off at 05:35, taking customers up to Ryde Pierhead before heading 8.5 miles south to Shanklin.

It follows a £26m transformation of stations and infrastructure by operator South Western Railway (SWR), funded by the Department for Transport, Isle of Wight Council and Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.

The project, which was subject to repeated delays, saw the 1938 tube trains, which had served the island since 1989, retired and replaced with the new Class 484 fleet.

SWR managing director Claire Mann, said: ‘We are so excited to welcome our customers back onboard, having completed the biggest upgrade to the Island Line in over 50 years.

‘From new trains to improved stations, the long list of benefits that come with this upgrade will give a real boost to the Isle of Wight’s public transport infrastructure, connecting communities and making it easier for visitors to explore the island.’

Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris, said: ‘This investment totally transforms rail travel on the island, updating trains, stations for both resident and tourists.’

The council’s cabinet member for highways PFI, transport and infrastructure, Phil Jordan said: ‘This is positive news for those that depend on the rail link and is part of the wider improvements we are going to see at the Ryde Interchange in the near future.’

'It's been a long wait but I am sure that many people are delighted they can once again utilise the train service between Shanklin and Ryde Pier Head and any of the stations in between. The continuous connection with the mainland is a vital lifeline for our Island and supports our tourism, leisure and job destinations equally.’

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