Major milestone reached at Ryde Esplanade Interchange

Published: 9 February 2024

grey flat building with shaded enclosed waiting area in Ryde with blue sky

Another major milestone has been reached at Ryde Interchange.

The extension of the concourse at Ryde Esplanade Station will open on 19 February allowing direct access from the station to the reinstated tramway pier and the refurbished public toilets.

This will provide a safe diverted route for pedestrians while works are undertaken to glaze the western elevation and reconfigure the main station access.

The works have allowed the ceiling height through the old ticket office to be raised exposing the historic structure and architectural details.

An automatic door has been installed in the northern elevation to prevent this becoming a wind tunnel and a shutter at the connection to the current concourse will allow the route to be secured overnight.

Peter Williams, SWR customer and commercial director, said: "We’re very pleased to see the great progress being made on this important project, and particularly pleased with both its integration into the wider environment and the quality of the environment we are now able to provide."

The public toilets are to be operated by Ryde Town Council and will be brought into use upon the completion of a lease between the town council and SWR. In the interim, the temporary toilets will be retained at the station frontage.

The refurbishment of the historic waiting room accessed from the station platform has also been completed reinstating commanding views of the pier and Solent allowing those waiting for train services to escape the elements rather than waiting on the platform.

The fit out includes both modern seating suitable for those with mobility impairments and historic pews secured from Dover Street Church before conversion to Aspire.

Tim Hedley-Jones, executive director of the Railway Heritage Trust, said: "We are really pleased to have supported this project with a grant which has reinstated many of the historic elements of the station and exposed the original fabric of the building. Historic features add character to a station and that is really evident at Ryde Esplanade."

Councillor Phil Jordan, leader of the Isle of Wight Council, said: "I’m really pleased with the progress and quality of the work and will be interested to see the feature tower at the main station access when the project is completed later this spring and hopefully opening of the café for the summer season."

The Ryde Interchange Project seeks to provide better travel connectivity as well as much-improved public space for residents and visitors.

The project is primarily funded by government grant from the Transforming Cities Fund following a successful bid by the Isle of Wight Council, Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council (together as South East Hampshire Rapid Transport) for £55.6m million.

Around £10 million of this has been awarded for the Ryde Interchange which is supplements with contributions from Wightlink, Southern Vectis, The Railway Heritage Trust and Isle of Wight Council.