21 Jan 2021

Railways in line for research project

Work has started on a project to study the Isle of Wight's railways to see how they could meet future transport needs.

The government's Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund is supporting a research project, which is commissioned by the Isle of Wight Council and being carried out by a group of transport experts led by the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

Dave Stewart, leader of the Isle of Wight Council, said: "Once again – working in partnership with our MP – we have been able to convince the government to support us in taking forward plans to enable investment on the Island. We are looking some way into the future here, but the potential to have an extended railway service on the Island is very real, and could have a transformational impact on our public transport provision. I know we have a wealth of knowledge and skill on the Island already, so I would encourage individuals and organisations with an interest in the future of the Island's rail services to get in touch with the research team soon, find out more about the work they are doing and make their views known."

Bob Seely MP said: “Working collectively with the IW Council, and others, we worked hard to secure Government money for a feasibility study. We need to look beyond the coronavirus pandemic and make sure the Island prospers in the long-term. We need to build back better and to help us achieve this we need to actively apply for Government support wherever it may be available. This is one such avenue we are pursuing. We requested this study to see if there is a viable case to reinstate rail connections from Ryde to Newport, and Shanklin to Ventnor. With regard to the Ryde to Newport link, clearly, we need to work with the IW Steam Railway to explore whether it would be possible to enable a shared use of their existing route to Wootton, and an extension beyond there for mutual benefit. We can only proceed with their support and cooperation. We have a contractor in place and we now need to talk to all interested parties to ensure we come up with a common approach on the Island.”

To find out more about the research project and to contact the team, visit https://iwightinvest.com/regeneration-prospectus/restoring-your-railway/ or email regeneration@iow.gov.uk 

A consortium led by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, in partnership with Ricardo Rail and Connected Economics, will deliver a Strategic Outline Business Case for the restoration of rail services to be submitted to government in May 2021. The project will be seeking input from island stakeholders until the end of March 2021.

A separate £26 million development is underway currently to enhance the existing Island Line rail service from Ryde to Shanklin.

Image shows the Class 484 trains arriving by ferry on the Isle of Wight last year. Images supplied by South Western Railway.

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  • The project will be seeking input from island stakeholders until the end of March 2021.
Isle of Wight, UK