Letter: First impressions count – time to smarten up the ‘tatty trains’

This reader believes something should be done by the Isle of Wight council to improve the first impression visitors have when they arrive in Ryde. He believes the trains and station are tatty and should be improved.

train at ryde station

We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below. This from Michael Saunders in Shalfleet. Ed


Given that the Isle of Wight depends on tourism for a lot of its revenue, I find it hard to understand why the Ryde-Shanklin train is such a disgrace.

You come off a sleek catamaran to find that the train is not as regular as it should be, requiring a long wait in some cases.

The train itself is a down at heel, tatty, 1938 issue, couple of carriages which looks what it is. The badly peeling tops of the carriages for example look like a war zone.

The station front is tatty and the stretch leading to the pier head run down and rusty.

Impressions to visitors are very important and it behoves the Council to spend some money on this link.

A look at Gatwick Airport might be in order. Passengers are served by two driverless trains which run every few minutes on a switchback system. Why cannot this be considered here?

Yes, it costs money but sometimes you have to speculate to accumulate.

Image: tompagenet under CC BY 2.0

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Friday, 30th June, 2017 1:39pm

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Filed under: Island-wide, Letter to the Editor, Tourism, Train, Travel

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

10 Comments

  1. Steve Goodman


    30.Jun.2017 3:51pm

    I’m reminded that a previous Con. council quietly paid back about a million pounds of Islander’s money after their last minute cancellation of the nice new Ryde transport interchange improvement which the government was going to fund.

    Could a quick cosmetic ‘lick of paint’ infrastructure improvement perhaps now be made using community payback labour?

  2. Given that the franchise for South West Trains will be handed from Stagecoach to First/MTR in August, it is perhaps unlikely that the former will be spending more than is absolutely necessary in the last months. The new company has indicated it will spend £2M sprucing up the line.

  3. did anyone see recently the report on the new trains commissioned for the Reading to Psddington route?

    They will be brought into service, and the existing trains, just 2 years old, are being replaced!

    how about we apply for some of those? they’re just being mothballed.

    • Yes I saw that and wondered.If all else fails perhaps the carriages could be painted in jolly primary colours as before. Plenty of willing artists here I’m sure.

    • laurentian


      4.Jul.2017 9:35am

      Unfortunately, standard size trains won’t fit – which is why we have ex London Transport tube trains.

      This was all covered comprehensively in previous threads, but as I remember it even more modern LT coaches, which would fit, are too long?

      I liked the ones with dinosaurs!

  4. The trains ARE being smartened up as they go through overhaul, one has already been repainted and a second looks near to completion – alas painting the roof light grey is always going to show up the rust after a few years. The stations could do with smartening up now but naturally there’s little incentive when the franchise changes hand next month…

    • iowchris,

      you can keep putting lipstick on a pig, but its still a pig, and in this case a clapped out ancient pig. time for someone to invest in more than sprucing the carriages up…….

      • If there was an obvious affordable alternative you might have a point, but there isn’t – there will be no like-for-like alternatives available from London Underground for years to come and anything else would undoubtedly require very significant infrastructure costs. The current old but reliable stock could be transformed for a fraction of the cost of replacement until something truly better becomes available.

  5. mind you, the state of the rolling stock matches the state of the rail section of Ryde Pier. first impressions count, and this one says nothing good about our island.

  6. The island’s transport infrastructure belongs in a bygone era.

    We have railways that have scarcely been improved since the 1920’s so cannot accommodate modern rolling stock and no direct mainland connection, likewise our isolated main roads which even our new M.P. Bob Seely has described as “19th century”. No commercial air service and no road link at the mouth of the Medina either.

    I understand that some feel that this is all part of the island’s quaint charm that attracts tourists but I agree with Michael Saunders that it just reflects badly on us.

    Despite “austerity” there are in fact £ 483Bn of infrastructure funds available just ready to be asked for. All this living in the past stuff needs to become history, Bob Seely and Ian Ward get in touch with the DfT and lets upgrade transport on our island to 21st century standards.

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