THE modernisation of the 8½-mile Island Line between Ryde Pierhead and Shanklin should have commenced at the start of 2019 but the Department for Transport extended its own deadline until the end of March to determine what shape the modernisation will take.
When South Western Railway was awarded the franchise it was mandated to propose a more sustainable business model, the ‘Priced Option’, for the loss-making line, which uses 1938-built London Underground stock.
The DfT’s decision to break its own deadline was revealed at an Isle of Wight Council Cabinet meeting in January. Along with the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, the council is one of the official Island Line stakeholders that have helped put forward plans to identify a way of reducing losses while modernising the line.
The ‘Priced Option’ was submitted to the DfT by SWR before the May 31, 2018 deadline after a visit to Vivarail at Long Marston. Vivarail is converting 1978 Tube stock to main line standards.
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