Feasibility study into extending Island Line to Ventnor and Newport underway

The feasibility study into extending Island Line from Ryde to Newport and Shanklin to Ventnor has begun but Bob Seely says it can only proceed with the support and cooperation of the Steam Railway

Class 484 train

Work has started on a project to study the Isle of Wight’s railways to see how they could meet future transport needs. 

The government’s Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund is supporting a research project, which is commissioned by the Isle of Wight Council and being carried out by a group of transport experts led by the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

Stewart: Get in touch with the research team
Cllr Dave Stewart, leader of the Isle of Wight Council, said,

“Once again – working in partnership with our MP – we have been able to convince the government to support us in taking forward plans to enable investment on the Island.

“We are looking some way into the future here, but the potential to have an extended railway service on the Island is very real, and could have a transformational impact on our public transport provision.

“I know we have a wealth of knowledge and skill on the Island already, so I would encourage individuals and organisations with an interest in the future of the Island’s rail services to get in touch with the research team soon, find out more about the work they are doing and make their views known.”

Seely: Can only proceed with cooperation of Steam Railway
Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Bob Seely, said,

“Working collectively with the IW Council, and others, we worked hard to secure Government money for a feasibility study.

“We need to look beyond the coronavirus pandemic and make sure the Island prospers in the long-term. We need to build back better and to help us achieve this we need to actively apply for Government support wherever it may be available. This is one such avenue we are pursuing.

“We requested this study to see if there is a viable case to reinstate rail connections from Ryde to Newport, and Shanklin to Ventnor.

“With regard to the Ryde to Newport link, clearly, we need to work with the IW Steam Railway to explore whether it would be possible to enable a shared use of their existing route to Wootton, and an extension beyond there for mutual benefit. We can only proceed with their support and cooperation.

“We have a contractor in place and we now need to talk to all interested parties to ensure we come up with a common approach on the Island.”

News shared by Isle of Wight council press office, in their own words. Ed

Thursday, 21st January, 2021 4:22pm


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21 Comments on "Feasibility study into extending Island Line to Ventnor and Newport underway"

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Hahaha, can’t you tell an election is coming ;-)


When the combined might of the MP and Council is unable to provide a reliable way of crossing the River Medina between East and West Cowes, how on God’s earth do they think they can restore even the tiniest part of the Islands railway system?

Much as I would like to see the railways put back to how they were before the Beeching axe in the sixties, I am realistic enough to know that it will never happen. Why? because it is economically unviable for starters. And for seconds, the rail route has been built on in various places. Electioneering again from the tories who couldn’t run a Dotto train let alone… Read more »
The IOWSR has a Light Railway Order limiting operations to 25mph. Once this speed is exceeded, full National Safety Standards are required plus massive track and signalling investment ro satisfy these Standards. There is no capacity for around 175 days a year with heritage services running between say 10am and 6pm. So a regular main line service would either reduce the steam services to an unviable level… Read more »
Where there is a will there is often a way and one would think that extending back to Newport would relieve a great deal of traffic on the road between there and Ryde. I have been a member of IOWSR for many years and I would look forward to a sharing arrangement if a way can be found. Too often people rush in to say this and… Read more »

Also, there is no reason why trains could not continue to run under an LRO if that made the project feasible economically. There is no need for an HST!


Why wouldn’t the steam railway co-operate? Extended rail services right through to Ryde Pierhead.
But I thought the closed track was sold off to make it almost impossible to reinstate. Here’s a thought; extend to Cowes, at least Mill Hill Station!


To avoid tourists getting electrocuted by the third rail and avoid having to upgrade their signaling and rolling stock to national network standards!


The Class 483 trains can be built to use batteries, the third rail does not have to be a barrier.


Even without the third rail the upgrades required would finish off the steam railway operations.

That’s a key point. The section from Smallbrook Jn to Wootton could easily be covered by 483’s with a battery pack (and if really necessary could be run non-stop Smallbrook to Wootton at 25mph due to light rail regulations). Most of the right of way from Wootton to the edge of Newport seems to be mostly clear (a section of new track/route at the end to maybe… Read more »

The extension of the railway will remove cycle tracks that the council had been trying to get us to use. Use the consultants cash to improve the poor standard of the existing cycle paths.


Yep, the section of cycle track between Wootton and Island Harbour is only suitable for those with mountain bikes and life jackets.

Generally the cycle paths on the Island suck big time.

Losing access to the permanent way was arguably the most short-sighted decision ever on the Island, making this undoubtedly the biggest and most costly project here in living memory – but it simply needs to be done. Future generations will thank those who provide an alternative to ever-increasing road usage and, even in the short term, there will be a huge boost to local economy in the… Read more »

Too little too late to a certain extent. The cost alone would be astronomical due to infrastructure such as bridges being removed, tracks built over – they should never have ended the rail network on the Island this in itself would have been our greatest attraction for tourists the film industry, documentaries and keeping skills going even more so it they trains remained steam.

Being part of the “wealth of knowledge and skill on the Island”, I was phoned by a professional contact employed by a national consultancy that was thinking of bidding to do the feasibility study. After speaking to me, they quickly decided not to. It sounds like a nice idea, but it’s completely unrealistic, for all the reasons already put forward. I can’t understand why IWC should spend… Read more »

What a shame that you would go so far as to put a potential contractor off, the benefits of getting traffic off the roads would be substantial.

That’s not entirely fair – I certainly don’t dispute the benefits of getting traffic off the roads. If I thought there was any realistic possibility of this study achieving it, I would have agreed to help (which is what my contact had phoned me to ask) and picked up some useful fees from doing so. It would be lovely to see the lines reinsated, but I have… Read more »

Its the transport board trying to deflect discussions away from taboo subjects!


Obviously to justify the hike in Council tax they tend to impose or try to impose this year. All this means is more money being wasted on “Consultations” at a massive price and nothing to show at the end or they will end up supplying something that doesn’t work – like the floating bridge!


Bring back the No.39 bus instead!