If you’re wondering what is going to happen with the Dotto Trains this year, we’ve got an update on the situation.
VB readers may remember that the Isle of Wight council made the decision (as part of their budget cuts) last year to cease the tourist Dotto Train services in Shanklin, Sandown and Ryde.
Trains go out to tender
Back in November (19th) last year, the tender for these three trains was advertised in the County Press.
This advert, as well as information sent to 13 individuals or organisations (who had either previously expressed an interest or were known to deal in road trains) resulted in eleven tender packs being issued.
From that, seven tenders were received and considered by the council, three of which came from Island concerns.
Highest bidder won
Out of the seven bids, the contract went to a road train dealer in Llandudno, Wales who placed the highest bid.
IW Council head of highways and Transport Peter Hayward said: “In the current climate when the council is having to concentrate its resources on statutory services such as concessionary fares, it was not felt that spending money providing Dotto Trains was justified.
“Mindful of the fact the trains were nearing the end of their working life requiring a replacement at a significant cost of £100k each, several months ago a decision was made to cease funding the Dotto Trains and the relevant town and parish councils and local members were informed.
“Although the council has now sold the Dotto Trains, there is nothing stopping a local firm setting up a similar service in local towns.”
Trains could be leased back to Island operator
The council also told us that the new owner of the three trains is prepared to lease the trains back to anyone wanting to continue the service when the holiday season starts.
Town and Parish councils might want to consider increasing their precepts and taking on the cost of running the Dotto Trains throughout the summer.
Not knowing whether the trains have been re-conditioned and given that the council told us that the road trains were nearing the end of their working life, we’re wondering how much of a good deal that’ll be.
Time will tell.
Image: © IOW Entertainer