South Western Railway (SWR) have now launched their consultation for stakeholders on the future of Island Line Trains.
Train users have until the end of the year to respond to the consultation.
The way forward
The consultation document sets out several options for the future of the service, including what SWR share consider the most appropriate way forward:
- A self-powered train which can be accommodated on the existing infrastructure. This would save the cost of replacing the existing electrical equipment which a recent dilapidation report revealed is in a poor state, with the third rail in need of replacement and substations in poor condition. It would also avoid the storage and air pollution concerns associated with a diesel powered train.
- A new 25 year lease which will allow investment to be spread across a longer period and help attract private finance.
- An enhanced service frequency to better integrate with ferry and hovercraft connections and grow business.
- Infrastucture improvements to allow better interchange between Island Line and the Isle of Wight Steam Railway to generate revenue for both organisations.
- Better marketing and revenue protection to generate revenue.
KILF supportive of overall direction
The Keep Island Line in Franchise (KILF) campaign group have set out their starting position on what’s included in the consultation.
They say they’re supportive of the overall direction of SWR’s proposals, given that they:
- Are based on Island Line remaining within the wider franchise model, as an integral part of the South Western Rail network.
- Propose keeping Island Line as a train-based service (rather than being replaced by a tram), thereby minimising costs and disruption to service continuity.
- Propose an enhanced service frequency to better integrate with cross-Solent connections, and improving interchange between Island Line and the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.
KILF: Undertaking further research
The KILF Steering Committee say,
“We are currently undertaking further research and advice to better understand the implications of the proposed self-powered train (ie. removing the third rail electrical supply and relying on an on-board power supply) and whether this will provide a reliable and cost effective service.
“Similarly, we have asked SWR to explain why they consider a new 25 year lease (2019 onwards) would be better than putting Island Line onto a conventional track access agreement (like the rest of country), which would give Network Rail full responsibility for the infrastructure. We consider there to be pros and cons of this approach, so we remain open-minded at this stage.
“We will be spending the next month meeting with SWR, IW Bus & Rail Users Group, the Steam Railway and other interested parties to help inform our proposed response to the consultation, which ends on 31st December.”
KILF are also inviting supporters to a public meeting which they’re hosting on Thursday 14th December, 7pm, at Shanklin Theatre. (Doors open 6:30pm.)
The meeting will outline SWR’s proposals for Island Line and provide an overview of KILF’s intended response.
The purpose of the public meeting will be to receive feedback on the proposed response to the consultation and a community consensus on what should be submitted to SWR.
Get in touch before meeting
To help KILF prepare for the meeting, please let them have any questions (ASAP), comments or suggestions you may have after reading the consultation document.
They intend to submit a comprehensive response to the consultation to ensure that the needs of Island Line’s users are taken into account.
Have your say
Full details can be found in the document below. Train users are invited to get in touch with KILF by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
All responses should be received by 31 December 2017.
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