Island Line: Department for Transport proposals shocker

Those campaigning to keep Island Line within the South West franchise will be spitting out their cornflakes at the breakfast table when they read the Department for Transport’s proposals for the line.

Stitched up train

This in from the Department for Transport (DfT) in their own words. Ed

Government outlines initial proposals for the future of the Island Line as part of next South Western rail franchise.

Initial proposals to secure services on the Island Line have been set out today, Friday 11 September 2015, by the Department for Transport.

The line, which runs on the Isle of Wight, is part of the current South Western franchise. A new franchise is due to start in 2017.

The government is currently drawing up detailed plans for the next franchise, which covers the route between London, Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset. However, it is releasing preliminary proposals for the Island Line ahead of a formal consultation later this year.

Turn it into a separate business
The plans are designed to deliver the services that local people need, while putting the line on a more sustainable footing for the future.

Under the proposals, the government expects to ask bidders for the next franchise to help sustain the line while suggesting ideas to turn it into a separate and self-sustaining business during the life of the franchise, with Network Rail responsible for maintaining and improving the infrastructure of the line.

A social enterprise to take over the running of the line
Government also expects bidders to develop proposals for how they will reduce the cost of running the line, which currently costs £4 million a year to run, against an income of £1million. This could involve the next operator securing an investment partner or working with the community and stakeholders to set up a social enterprise to take over the running of the line.

Rail Minister Claire Perry said:

“I am determined that residents, employers and tourists on the Isle of Wight will continue to benefit from the service that the Island Line provides.

“We know that the line is expensive to run and in the current financial climate we need to find ways to bring down the cost to taxpayers, while ensuring that the line continues to meet the needs of the community. Giving local people more say over these services is the best way to make this happen. That is why I want to see stakeholders work with the next operator to come up with innovative solutions that will reduce the burden on the public purse, while safeguarding the line for years to come.”

The Department for Transport will consult with passengers and the public on its plans for the South Western franchise later this year. The government has also given its backing to a task force which will be set up by the council to examine the future of transport across the island.

Image: craftivist-collective under CC BY 2.0

Friday, 11th September, 2015 12:01am



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

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44 Comments on "Island Line: Department for Transport proposals shocker"

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grumpy androoo

Was it Laurel and Hardy or was it the rail users of the Isle of Wight who said “That’s another Finney mess you got us into”?


Exactly the opposite of what it needs.


So DfT has been listening to no one but Turner and his ventriloquist dummy (or is that the other way around?).

She says give local people a say in how it’s run, that is not Finney and Co, so we have to make sure she listens to what the majority of us think, keep Islandline in the franchise for its entire duration. She also says reduce the costs, does this mean to hopefully make a profit or run at a less of a loss, there is obviously a… Read more »

Well that sadly is the start of the end of that, Our MP has gone off on a frolic, with no portfolio from the people that matter, his constituents. No consultation no interaction with the people who use the line, nothing.

Whats your next trick Mr Turner? Turn the whole Island into a separate Country or tax haven? Come on surprise us!

Amazing that the Rail Minister echos what Finney ( ‘passioante about better connectivity for the Island’) has been proposing, the same wording, and of course the income generating (for some) much lauded ‘taskforce’. Wonder if we will see the minutes (redacted or not) of these ‘meetings’ and more importantly who was in attendance . The three Councillors who met with Arriva recently have one thing in common,… Read more »
i don’t think it’s the end, I just feel nothing is going to change, what the transport secretary has said is whoever wins the franchise should be looking for someone within the community to help run it, and hopefully share the investment needed, and who is going to do that? No one will invest souly on Islandline unless they can make money, and the line will never… Read more »
Thomas the Tank
So, how spooky, Finney and Turner have been right all along. The Department haven’t done this because of them, they obviously told the MP first, of course. All the hysteria and personal attacks from OTW posters have been a classic case of shoot the messenger. Anyone with any desire at all to keep the line running, had better do something a little more positive fro now on.… Read more »
Thomas Very spooky indeed, makes you think they went up to the DfT with these ” ideas ” ( which as of yet no one knows what they are ) to convince them about the validity of them, don’t shoot the messenger? Don’t be silly, the DfT had no intention of removing the Islandline from the franchise if it hadn’t been for Mr Finney talking rubbish to… Read more »
so the Island Line is IN the franchise for the next period……..and during that period they will look at it forming a new business. So it MIGHT be out of the franchise after that, but will be part finanaced and supported by the franchise winner after that. So its in the Franchise and guaranteed for the next period…. Surely this is exactly what every francise holder does… Read more »


My view as well…


Oh dear you are a busy bee Miss D. Surely you are Mrs Topham Hatt and not Thomas ?


Stitched up by the government. The Island Line is doomed.

The Missing Person acts for the government not the Islanders.

Surely The Minister’s consultation process is already in place. This is from a link on Island Line’s web page “Welcome to the Isle of Wight Community Rail Partnership website! The Isle of Wight Community Rail Partnership (CRP) was launched in 2005 with formal designation granted from the Department for Transport (DfT) in March 2006. The partnership’s original stakeholders were Island Line, the Isle of Wight Council, Wightlink… Read more »
I have lived on the Island for most of my life, and have used the Islandline maybe about 8 times other than for the leg saving trip up the pier. If what the DfT says is true, ie there is a £3m shortfall on its operating costs, then there is clearly a case for looking at where things are going wrong. Do Islandline staff recieve the same… Read more »

Well said, bazaldog, logic rather than emotion. Surely the government/ we taxpayers will not subsidise 75% of the costs of the service for long. Why should we?

Hang on a minute. The island line is just one of many that does nor run at a profit. If every line that did not turn in a profit was closed then there would be precious little left of the network. The feeder lines make some of the mainlines profitable. And then, of course, there are the accounting practices which can be used to turn profit into… Read more »
But how can Islandline be classed as a feeder line to the mainland network? The obstacle to that being a truth is the prohibitive cost of the ferry. I would wager that if a train were left in Ryde St Johns to simply offer a shuttle service up and down the pier, whilst a second train served the rest of the line, you would find that the… Read more »

Clearly you do not or have not traveled with the many commuters who use the line from Shanklin, Lake, Sandown and Brading on a daily basis spending 1000’s of £s feeding into the mainland network? My spend last year was circa £7000 all taken by Island Line and fed into the SWT network and beyond.

The Ancient Matelot
You make some valid points. However, if services were only paid for by only those who use them, there would be no “public services”; I rarely use the local swimming pool, have no children at school, rarely use any of the public transport services and, (thankfully) at present enjoy good health, but have to pay for or subsidise all these services out of taxes – and why… Read more »
Very good point, and well made. I, like you, do not use many of the public services but I do vicariously benefit from the education budget as today’s children are tomorrow’s service providers, swimming pools and municipal sports facilities help reduce the tax payers burden by helping to keep people healthy and promote a healthy lifestyle etc etc etc…one could continue. The issue here, is what benefit… Read more »
The Sciolist
Having digested the arguments, I can see no justification whatsoever for spending an annual £3 million of taxpayers money on this line, nor any other for that matter. If these small railways cost so much and can charge so little, (less than £6 per day for unlimited journey’s) then abolish them. As for the cost of the actual line, track, signalling etc, these are staggering sums that… Read more »

It is, indeed, odd that the cost for all-day travel on the railway is the same as that for parking a car in an IWC car park for the same amount of time.

Either the railway is undercharging, or the car park is overcharging as the cost of maintaining and running a railway must far exceed that of maintaining a patch of tarmac.

The Sciolist

£60,000 a week, that’s the loss (or cost if you prefer) of the train operation. This figure is AFTER the income has been subtracted and does not include the up to £40 million they claim needs spending on the track and infrastructure.

Come on, who really thinks spending so much is justifiable?


So how do you justify the £1 billion loss on Northen line..Close it?
We should not be treated any different from other TOC branch also making losses which are remaining in there respective franchises

The reason is because, as many of the mainline/land routes do, this line links areas of trade-ours does not. What we need to concentrate on is developing business hubs that people need to get travelling to/from. All we have at the moment is a hugely expensive line joining Lake (a hub of take aways, and a dead town), Sandown (a hub of peeling paintwork, take aways and… Read more »

A third of the Island population reside in these ‘dead towns’.


Exactly, this is why economic development is important to this line. Surely it would not be too difficult to get the buildings painted as a very basic provision? The termini are simply not pleasant places to go at present.


Paint, paint, paint….. Do you work at B & Q!

If you find the stations unsightly, don’t use them… Go and stand at a metal post stuck in the ground by Southern Vectis and pay a fortune for the pleasure.


I see Mr Finney has asked on Twitter why DfT’s proposals should be considered a shocker, to quote the headline of this story.

Finney goes on to describe them as “entirely predictable”.

I think he rather gives his game away here. The proposals are entirely predictable if you have been pushing this agenda to DfT for months on end, eh Nick?

So, because Mr Finney, a man that I daresay you have never met, have done a quick google search on to form an opinion and whose experience and knowledge you have little idea of, has spoken, you must immediately cast doubt on? How utterly pretentious of you to dare add to this debate!? This is a serious issue, and personality must not form a part of it.… Read more »
Bazaldog, so have you met Mr Finney, perhaps in East Cowes? We know you are a friend of his better half. I am not reaching an opinion on Mr Finney. I have read his Twitter feed, as well as his various inane pronouncements over recent weeks. His lack of competence is evidence. You say that personality must not form a part of it. It should not, but… Read more »
Yes, I have met him-and he is not an incoherent fool. What have you to say on the merits/demerits on the franchise? Anonymous posts trying to rattle me are a criminal offense, and I have no problem with taking the issue to the Police if need be. This sort of response could become harrassment and I have no issue taking you and the publisher to court.

If Finney isn’t an incoherent fool, what type of fool is he?


I actually agree with your sentiments regarding Islandline, but:

“I have no problem with taking the issue to the Police if need be. This sort of response could become harrassment and I have no issue taking you and the publisher to court.”


I think you need to man-up a bit.


I have tried to report your comment, alas the system has failed

Bazaldog is Miss Dennett or Mr Finney writing your script ? I doubt if it is Mr Turner. It would appear that you are putting forward their viewpoint. Is it at the Lifeboat that these scripts are thrashed out ? Scene of Mr Turner’s lamentable appearance on Radio Solent earlier this year, perhaps the ‘incoherent’ and ‘fool’ are easily caught from others ? You like to dish… Read more »

Perhaps Bazaldog should rename himself as Finney’s poodle.


Oh I think chihuahua or even teacup yorkie !


Given that Bazaldog has previously outed himself, Rottweiler or bulldog, British of course !


Was he not Dennett’s lap dog?


It would appear that he still is and now her mouthpiece !

Sumeyah Sallam
I wish to get clarification.. My understanding is that in the rest of the UK, the line, Stations, bridges and land around the tracks are owned and managed by Network Rail. The franchise is for running the train and carriages on said tracks and the amount that is paid to network rail is done on the number of trips and numbers of carriages running on the tracks.… Read more »

Spot on well said. Answers Mr Turner? On a postcard please…..