Island Line campaigners threaten DfT with judicial review

Two Island Line users have submitted a ‘Letter before Claim’ to the Department for Transport and questions whether the DfT proposals for Island Line could amount to the thin edge of the wedge.

taking notes

Campaigner to save Island Line trains being removed from the South Western franchise, David Pugh, and fellow train user, Warren Drew, have submitted a ‘Letter Before Claim’ to the Department for Transport (DfT) regarding their policy on Island Line.

This is first step towards a Judicial Review.

David Pugh, also a member of the Keep Island Line in Franchise campaign group, told OnTheWight,

“Given the general non-response from the DfT over recent months (including the points we raised in our consultation submission), we hope this will, at the very least, force them into seriously considering the issues and providing a response.

“We hope that they will respond positively to our request for an Alternative Dispute Resolution.”

Franchise objective must be amended
The Letter argues that,

“It is our view that … its [DfT] proposals for Island Line have been made without a true understanding of the financial situation or the causes.”

It calls the DfT to,

“… amend its franchise objective in this regard, and to update the Invitation to Tender (ITT) accordingly so that the shortlisted bidders are obligated, through the base specification, to set out proposals to secure a long-term sustainable solution for Island Line that would be wholly delivered within the wider franchise model.”

‘Social and other benefits’ not recognised
David went on to explain that when privatisation of the railways took place in the 1990s, the then Secretary of State for Transport – John (now Lord) MacGregor – published a White Paper: ‘New Opportunities for the Railways – The Privatisation of British Rail‘ in July 1992.

That paper set out clearly, in paragraph 8, the ‘Essential Requirements’ which would be placed on a privatised network. This included at (c):

“Essential Passenger Services. The Government fully recognises the social and other benefits of regional and commuter services. It is committed to providing continuing subsidy to support them.”

Safeguards starting to be unpicked by Government?
He goes on to explain,

“Yet the current policy in respect of Island Line fundamentally contradicts this explicitly stated essential requirement set out when the railways were privatised.

“The then Conservative Government made clear that it was committed to providing a continuing subsidy to support regional rail services, yet the policy objective for Island Line to become self-sustaining is a direct betrayal of this commitment – and therefore leads to questions as to whether the safeguards put in place at the time of privatisation are now starting to be unpicked by the current Conservative Government.”

Thin end of the wedge?
David finished by saying,

“There are understandable fears that the proposals for Island Line could amount to the thin edge of the wedge, with a requirement to become self-sustaining being placed on other loss-making lines in the future.”

Tuesday, 2nd August, 2016 9:23am



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story, Train, Travel

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11 Comments on "Island Line campaigners threaten DfT with judicial review"

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I just hope the new “Task Force” don’t use their position to push through this ridiculous tram idea. i am sure it would be a lot cheaper to obtain upcycled underground carriages…. []


The “Task Force” should not have any say on Island Line.Because it could cause problems.

Call me cynical but i get the feeling that the primary aim of the task force is to legitimise the tram/light rail idea. Just look at the people on it, no representation from transport providers or users and headed up by a man who has made it clear he believes Islandline should be removed from the wider franchise. At every turn Garnett, Finney, Turner and their cronies… Read more »

This may well be where the campaign to keep Island Line in the franchise and ensure its future may lie. At the end of the day it could also be through nationalisation of the railways. It is encouraging to see that KILF is plowing ahead with the struggle to keep our railway line.

The Brown Envelope

Has David Pugh said yet if he’s still working for Wightlink? It would be good to know.


TBE,Does this apply to all involved in this Island Line/Task Force issue then?Who is working for Who?


If it is the case?Then it could cause trouble?


Is there mistrust here?


The people have no-confidence in the “Task Force”?

wise words

If david pugh still works for wightlink what is the impact of that in keeping islandline in franchise i can’t see it having any effect on the final outcome.

Cllr Bacon has seemed oddly semi-detached on this issue, pointing up only that the main guy comes free. Seems a bit out of character. Even if it’s the case that the Council doesn’t have a statutory role, surely there’s a lot of scope for strong statements to be made on behalf of the Island. Unless that would compromise the Council representative’s position on the ‘taskforce’. I’d like… Read more »