Delays to upgrading Island Line trains could be being caused by Brexit — with the government refusing to approve plans until the end of the financial year.
An improvement plan for the Island’s oldest trains was put before the Department for Transport (DfT) at the end of May 2018 — as part of the franchise agreement the DfT must approve the plans before South Western Railway (SWR) can invest in the new stock.
The DfT looked set to return a decision at the start of the year.
However, cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, Cllr Ian Ward, said he had still not heard anything from the government.
Ward: We don’t know
Cllr Ward said:
“The DfT will not give us a decision before the end of this financial year, so who knows.
“People have muttered things like the government won’t make a decision until Brexit is clear, but we don’t know.
“We wait on the DfT to give us their verdict.”
SWR concerned about the delays
Cllr Ward said SWR was growing concerned the delay would push the refurbishment timetable back into next year.
He added Network Rail had announced it would invest £5 million into Ryde Pier Head.
Last May it was announced the Island Line trains looked set to be replace within two years by ‘significantly newer’ stock.
Improvements in the pipeline include the introduction of a new timetable with trains every 30 minutes to sync with the FastCat, onboard Wi-Fi and charging ports, information boards and new CCTV, in addition to refurbishing stations.
Parallel lines will also be added so trains can pass each other, improving the timetable.
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed