Isle of Wight MP appeals for feasibility cash to extend Island Line

Bob Seely MP asks for an assurance that, as £52 billion has been spent on HS2, he will not be told there isn’t any money to fund a feasibility study to extend Island Line trains to Newport and Ventnor.

bob seely in pareliament on hs2

This in from the office of Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Bob Seely. Ed

MP Bob Seely has questioned the Government in Parliament on the cost benefits of HS2 and urged it to invest in rail services on the Island and Southern England.

Speaking the Commons yesterday, Bob also asked ministers to find money for a feasibility study to look at extending the Island Line into Newport and on to Ventnor and said he will write to the Department for Transport asking for more Island and Southern England investment.

Bob said HS2 was “extraordinarily expensive” at £52 billion with poor returns, and by the Government’s own admission it has a cost benefit ratio of 1:2.3 which he described as “poor”.

Investment needed in the South-West train line
He told MPs,

“HS2 does nothing for capacity for southern rail or for south-west rail.

“The south-west rail network is crying out for investment. We need rail flyovers at Woking and at Basingstoke to get more services on that line. We need to update the signalling system between Waterloo and Woking, and eventually elsewhere on the line, to improve speeds and services. We need infrastructure on the Portsmouth line, to increase capacity.

“Getting from London to Portsmouth, you travel at an average speed of around 45 miles an hour, and the idea that we are spending billions building a rail network to go superfast up north when we are still travelling at branch-line speeds on mainline routes in the south of England is very galling to very many constituents in constituencies across southern England.”

Speed up journey times to London
He then asked the Government to commit to prioritising the necessary work on the south-west rail route that could speed up journey times between London and south coast destinations such as Portsmouth, Southampton, Bournemouth and the Isle of Wight.

Bob then told Parliament he wants money for the Island and the letter would spell out what is needed.

He said,

“My letter will cover support for investment, support for a feasibility study, and, dependent on the results of that study, support for the branch line and capital work on Ryde Pier Head to ensure that the railway line there stays feasible, continues and has a future.”

Feasibility study to extend Island Line
He then asked the minister, Nus Ghani:

“Will the Minister assure me that the Department will not be telling me that a feasibility study is not possible because of cost? Will the Minister assure me that if a feasibility study recommends extension of our lines, that will be supported, given that the costs involved, £10 million to £30 million, are margins of error in Government accounting in the Department of Transport?

“Will the Minister assure me that there will be support for infrastructure projects both for the South Western Railway network and the Island line, notwithstanding the considerable amounts of money that are been spent elsewhere?”

Wednesday, 31st January, 2018 2:52pm



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

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6 Comments on "Isle of Wight MP appeals for feasibility cash to extend Island Line"

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I realise many commentators regard politicians with great cynicism, but surely the Island should welcome the fact that your MP is at least asking questions and proposing possible solutions. The Island Line is in a poor state. Ryde Pier Head is dreadful. If Government can be persuaded to put up some money – why not ask, at least? And surely the cost of HS2 does need examinining… Read more »

All credit to him for raising the issue – albeit in front of a handful of others :(

I just wish he had a suit that was ironed and a shirt that looked like it actually fits :( These things matter.


At least we can agree that HS2 is a waste of money, a ministerial vanity project to impoverish all except the fat cats (alas, poor Carillion missed out – what a shame).
But yet another feasibility project? The long grass beckons…

Unbelievable rubbish from our MP. The Island Line with its outdated heavy rail system is a White Elephant. We need a light rail replacement. Watch this space. Why the taxpayer should subsidise the present system to the tune of 5 million pounds per annum is beyond belief when there are sensible alternatives. And just in case the old chestnut of commuters on south western producing a profit… Read more »
So how much more does it cost the average rail user on the profitable routes of SWR to subsidise Islandline ( and the Ascot and Lymington to Brockenhurst routes?) All TOCs use profits from profitable routes to subsides the non profitable routes, its not just an SWR issue. If it was the case that this didn’t happen, all of these routes would be closed with no rail… Read more »
The old lines were took away because they were not viable, because hardly anyone uses the island trains as it’s quicker to drive! Where are these new lines going then bob?? Because lots of the countryside would have to be dug up and destroyed! Thought you said there was no money for feasibility studies… a fixed link study is wanted/needed before anything else… or is that because… Read more »