Dotto Trains Sold To Welsh Bidder

Dotto trains have been sold to highest bidder

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

Tuesday, 11th January, 2011 9:15am



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Tourism

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. keithybaby

    11.Jan.2011 9:53am

    Surprising that anyone should bid for them if they are worn out!

    • depends on your definition..two of them are land rover based

      • Bus Driver

        11.Jan.2011 10:10am

        There were issues with the braking systems and parts were increasingly difficult and expensive to obtain. The most relaible one (and well made) was the Ryde one which it’s type is still in production. The other 2 are obsolete.

        • The chap has probably already got a buyer for ie a zoo,theme park,or a large holiday site.The sort of place that already has dotto trains and needs the spare parts and can do the work on site.On private land they do not need an MOT or TAX and the insurance is covered in the price of the ticket or your holiday.Still charge for the ride!

  2. The Shanklin Train ihas been offered to hire to the Town Council a for £12,000 a year and it was the only one of the 3 that made a profit

    The Tender for these trains stated thats price would be the only consideration.

    They were taken away yesterday

  3. Bus Driver

    11.Jan.2011 10:03am

    Dosn’t make sence to me or have I missed something? 3 Island ‘concerns’ express an interest in the trains (presumably to operate them as tourist attractions), but they are sold to a Welsh bidder who is ‘prepared to lease them back to operate on the Island? Why could’nt the council except the more ‘local’ bids so the trains would keep running and thus generate income for an Island business rather than taking money off the Island? No doubt the council would of charged some sort of licence fee to operate the services so what ever shortfall in the ‘lower’ bids would of been recovered. The other ‘missing’ link to this is why Southern Vectis havn’t taken it on? They apparently were making money from it!

    • Because this council is set on assett stripping the Island of all its responsibilities…its happy for someone else to pay for these services, but in it Tory re-modeling scheme..everything has to go

    • Well lets think about it. Only one organisation knows how much money each train took in revenue, and how much it cost to maintain them, garage them and staff them. So Southern Vectis alone would really know what the economics of it all were. Under the old contract, the Council went out to tender and asked organisations to put in a price to operate Sandown Shanklin and Ryde dottos. I’m told Wightbus bid nil, but Southern Vectis bid £15 (£5 a train) per annum, and so duly won! To be fair they overhauled all the trains, repainted them, and apparently got them running much more reliably. However, i’m told that early last year after the contract had expired, the Council were about to sell, but Southern Vectis offered to run just Shanklin and Ryde (Sandown has always been a dead duck, and they wanted that train as a spare on because the other two were becoming unreliable) for no subsidy, which they did. What doesn’t seem to have been made public though is that apparently according to soemone I know who works in the leisure department at the Council, Southern Vectis offered to pay the Council £5,000 this year to run Shanklin and Ryde again, but the Council said no thanks, we’re selling the trains…and now we know the result! Shanklin Town Council may be in for a nasty shock though if they’re planning on leasing it for that much money, and running it themselves. Not only do they not know the cost of maintaining it, or the likely revenue, but Southern Vectis have confirmed with the Council that for 2011 they will be replacing the Shanklin one on the current route with a converted ‘charabanc’!

      • Stewart Blackmore

        13.Jan.2011 11:13am

        The one thing that you may be wrong about here is that Shanklin Town Council probably knows exactly how much the costs are. After all the Leader of the Council is a Shanklin Town Councillor and it really would defy belief if he didn’t know the exact situation.

        • You don’t get it. For the last six years Southern Vectis have collecetd all the fares and no-one else knows how much they have taken. Similarly Southern Vectis have maintained the trains in their own workshops and no one else knows how much it has cost in parts or labour, or indeed how many of the parts regularly required have had to be made by them or by outside suppliers, or how long the trains have been off the road while awaiting spares (in which time the wages would still be paid, but no revenue taken).
          If David Pugh is an expert in anything, I seriously doubt it is in the economics of running dotto trains!

          • This appears to be the case, no info ia available apart from the Shanklin Train ran at a profit, Ryde broke even and Sandown made a loss

            Pugh is a professional at selling pens

          • Stewart Blackmore

            13.Jan.2011 8:20pm

            I di get it and I think that, with respect you don’t

            READ MY LIPS

            David Pugh is the Leader of the Council, EVERYTING crosses hir desk. HE IS I CHARGE!

            Nothing is decided without his say-so

          • you are implying that this council knows what it is doing!!!!!!

          • Bus Driver

            13.Jan.2011 8:41pm

            Well you seem to know all about it No. 5!

          • Hilarious belief
            Mr Pugh is all seeing and all hearing. He can see how much money Southern Vectis take on the Dotto Trains and how much time and money they spend maintaining the Shanklin train.

            We’re in the world of fantasy – actually, if only we were!

            I di get it and I think that, with respect you don’t

            READ MY LIPS

            David Pugh is the Leader of the Council, EVERYTING crosses hir desk. HE IS I CHARGE!

            Nothing is decided without his say-so

          • unbelievable

            13.Jan.2011 9:11pm

            my god. once again comments on a story degenerate into petty bickering about Pugh.

            You seriously think Pugh knows or cares about the dotto train? He has delegated it out and allowed southern vectis to deal with it. Simple as that.

            More to the point, why the hell must everything come back to Pughs incompetence? There are lots of other incompetent people working for the council, and lots of other highly competent people. It is bigger than one man thank christ, and to expect Pugh to know everything that goes on all the time is ridiculous, paranoid, and frankly seems quite childish.

            The important thing is to ensure that the cuts the council is set on imposing have a minimal impact on our lives by transfering services to volunteers and town councils, and then to vote out the tories. Debating what Pugh knows about what is pointless.

          • Thats because I care

  4. Does anyone know who the buyer was? How much did the train go for?

  5. It sound weird if that price were for all three trains!!
    Anyone know who bought them? Not just to where. I would like to get a hold of him.

    • each train was sold individually…

      • Bus Driver

        12.Jan.2011 6:16pm

        You seem to well informed! Be interesting to know where your info is comming from.

        • why?

          It’s not that confidential…Just becasue nobody told the CP :)

          • Bus Driver

            13.Jan.2011 9:41am

            So we know the info is accurate.

          • ita as accurate as you want to beleive…true of just about everything posted here….but the information is from a very reliable source involved in the sale

          • paul dearling

            17.Jan.2011 4:53pm

            As one of the local bidders for the trains I wish to make the following known.
            Firstly all three of the Trains had a Current PSV ( Public Service Vehicle ) MOT, so could not have been in too bad a state.
            They were maintained by Southern Vectis, but to a minimum standard, I had intended to refurb them and put them back into service for the 2011 season, employing 4 people.
            As the trains are hard to value, my bid was short by £ 1270.00, but the council accepted the highest price only , and did not take into account the impact on the local economy


          • Meursault

            17.Jan.2011 5:13pm

            That is shocking news Paul. There is no logic whatsoever in their decision. The more info that comes to light makes me think certain individuals in County Hall are using this cuts opportunity to implement some twisted ideological agenda. All this rhetoric about listening to alternatives, and helping the community secure futures for services is utter b*****ks.

            There seem to be individuals hell-bent on ripping the heart out of the Island, so all that is left is a static corpse, which they can enjoy (quietly) at their pleasure.

          • Bus Driver

            17.Jan.2011 7:14pm

            Paul, are you really suprised? After all they are quite happy to close the Tourist Info Centres which are a front line service for the main industry to the Island. Hardly installs confidence in the council’s interpretation of ‘impact on the local economy’ does it? By the way, you would of needed 6 people as each train needs a 2 man crew.

    • i have bought the land trains which have gone under an extensive refurbishment if you want to contact me please doo 01492 878228

  6. I’ve only just spotted this posting line. I really cannot believe that posters here are saying that we should keep …….The Dotto train!!

    Surely we should be lifting our standards above DOTTO TRAINS. I am embarrased to have such things on our roads, holding up traffic and looking extremely down market. we must raise our tourism game. It seems some people are happy to bump along the lower levels of tourism standards. God help us if this is what some Islander aspire to.

    • Bus Driver

      18.Jan.2011 8:12am

      Lol Ron! Where have you been over the last few weeks? The Island Tourism is being slowly wound down by the council by closing the Info Centres at the end of March… hardly raises our ‘tourism game’ does it?

  7. romeantique

    18.Jan.2011 8:25am

    glad to see the back of them, they are a menace on the roads and cause a danger to pedestrians as they also run on public footpaths

    • The Dotto trains were the height of our tourist trade…have you looked around lately.

      There has been no investment, private or council, in the tourist trade of the Island for decades..worn down nostalgia is our only selling point.

      Shame really…it could be so good

      • romeantique

        18.Jan.2011 12:21pm

        The Island is in a shabby appalling state and has been allowed to deteriorate due to lack of investment during times of plenty, whilst at the same time the Council have managed to run up a massive deficit wasting money with nothing to show.

        Things can only get a lot worse and yet they are being allowed to just continue.
        Pugh out and Beynon out for the good of the Island, they are a liability.

      • This is an exert of correspondance in support of mt bid, addressed to the Town Council :-

        Thank you for your prompt and comprehensive reply to my questions, however I wish to make the following comments :-

        What you say in regard to “The Council is not bound to accept the highest or any tender” is indeed partially correct.

        However the primary purpose of this clause, is to allow a degree of latitude when assessing bids, and take into account a more Global view, including other factors that impact on local Businesses, Employment, and the Community as a whole, particularly as the Primary source of income revenue for the Island, is Tourism.

        I Quote David Pughs View :-

        “This approach seems to be completely at odds with the principles we adopted at December Cabinet to enable local communities to take services on and run them at no cost to the Council.
        It seems utterly perverse for us to reject the possibility of these trains being kept on the Island to provide a continuing service here.

        Furthermore, reputationally for the Council – given the decisions we are making on TICs and lifeguards – surely it would be beneficial for us to be seen to be enabling a tourism initiative to take place in the private sector / local community. Making the dotto trains available to be run as a private service locally would give a strong steer of where we wish to see other services go, especially in line with those December Cabinet principles. ”

        Much to everybody’s amazement, all this seems to have been totally overlooked / ignored, and even in contravention of the Councils own internal policies, when it comes to providing for local Business and Employment.

        For a mere £1272.00, Shanklin has lost its Road Train, two Jobs directly, and who knows what the Indirect Impact will be ?.I find it inconceivable that the Council would allow this to happen !.

        Tourism is all about selling an experience, at very little direct cost this much loved facility could have been retained, and with all the other proposed closures, this could have been heralded as an example of the Council working with Local business, rather than against them.

        In the light of the above I would like to know why the Council awarded this Tender on the Basis of Price alone ?.

        Looking Forward to your reply,

        • Dotto trains don’t have MOTs – they are exempt. How do you know Southern Vectis only maintained them to a minmum standard? Have you some proof?

          • All were claimed to be un-roadworthy …all gained there road worthyness cert. once sold.

            It was SV that asserted this (according to the council who sold them)

            One has recently been re-sold for three times the amount all three cost…at the very least the council have sold an assett for far less than it as worth.

            No SV are offering a replecement service of their own….strange that

          • Sailor Sam

            10.Jul.2011 3:48pm

            Since when were they exempt? Can you provide proof because I think you are wrong!

  8. Sandown Sally

    18.Apr.2011 9:52am

    A nice little earner for someone. I’m sure nothing bent here, let’s all move on.

  9. To the peaple of the Isle of Wight

    I am not an islander from the Isle of Wight, I am from Folkestone in Kent, I was amazed to find that the Dotto road train has been sold off by your council I have a holiday nearly every year on the Isle of Wight and have been comming to the island for over 45 years since i was a child.
    To lose the Dotto road train is a big mistake when i am staying on the island i use the Dotto most days of my holiday to get around the different parts of the island towns due to i do not drive a car.
    and i find this form of transport very enjoyable in the sightseeing of your lovely towns and villages the drivers and staff of the dottos road trains were so freindly and helpful and will be missed so much
    The main reason most peaple come to the Isle of Wight is that it is like stepping back in time when things were not so hectic and stressful some peaple may think that the dottos were out dated but that is what you will find peaple visiting the Isle of Wight want
    The town of Folkestone i live in has been ruined by our council due to cut backs in tourist atractions so please dont go down the same road on the Isle of Wight
    I have been to many countries around the world and places in britain but i still find the Isle of Wight is my favorite place to wisit

    Many thanks to all peaple of the
    Isle of Wight

  10. To paul dearling

    I found this forum very interesting. From my understanding 3 trains were sold for £18000, that’s £6000 each and then the purchaser sold on one of these for £54000. Thats a good profit.

    Does anyone know where I can get one from?

  11. I have one for sale if interested

    See Ebay

  12. To all persons concerned about all 3 Isle of wight road trains , the price you are all assuming (18’000 for all trains) is rediciulous , we did not buy them for that cost (Times thats by 4 and you are close to the mark).Both roadrunner trains have had complete refurbishment. The roadrunner trains now have 3 carriages each and one of them has wheelchair access. You can view the almuinium roadrunner on (our webpage). The dotto train has been refurbished , 6 weeks work in total , new brakes , valvs , compressors , paintwork and complete seat apolstry. All the trains are for hire to anybody who would like to run them on the isle of wight , all trains ready to go.(PCV License required) Thanks , Monrie LTD. Phone: 01492 878228

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