The article below was written by Roger Berrisford of Light Rail Isle of Wight. Ed
Old rail stock ~ New laughing stock!!!
But it’s not even funny that the 16th September 2019 has been a shameful day for Island Line as our Government once again will have to eat its words because the current franchisee, South Western Railway, has not delivered the more sustainable solution for Island Line that was specifically requested by the Department for Transport (DfT) Invitation to Tender.
We were told by the Minister of State for Transport that Island Line is to receive 5 ex London Underground (D78) regurgitated trains in the form of Class 484’s from VivaRail. Our MP and Adrian Shooter (Chairman of Viva Rail) said that they were ‘new trains’, which is totally untrue, they are 40 years old and will not help the Isle of Wight Council achieve its regeneration objectives.
It is also abysmal in this day and age that the DfT can see no further than heavy rail, and so another branch line is to continue with the expensive make do and mend policy which we know costs this line more than £3.5m a year instead of a new bright future of light rail with expansion.
Light Rail: modern, greener, more frequent
In 2017 Light Rail Isle of Wight (LRIoW) put forward proposals to the Isle of Wight Council that Island Line be upgraded to a modern, greener, more frequent and easily extendable new light rail system.
The new service would have seen the introduction of new light weight trains and would also completely transform Ryde, opening up the seafront at Ryde Esplanade so making it accessible along its full length. The new light weight trains are a member of the Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) family with all the benefits that they can bring.
Would have saves up to £20m
As much as £20m could have been saved by introducing new light weight trains, the development of which is fully supported by the Office of Road and Rail and the DfT in order to make branch line rail services much more sustainable and are keen to allocate them to branch lines like Island Line.
Roger Berrisford, spokesman for Light Rail Isle of Wight said:
“It is truly shocking that our MP’s highest aspirations for the Island’s rail service is to support the cheapest option of more second-hand, old London trains when far more sustainable new light trains could be available within a similar timescale and even cheaper. Clearly he doesn’t believe Islanders deserve any better?
“Our proposals would have delivered a 15-minute service using six new light weight trains which could in the future be extended to re-link towns such as Newport and Cowes.
“He appears to have taken his cue from a former Council Leader, now Tory chairman, who has also campaigned for more second hand old regurgitated London trains and it is time for the Islanders to ask why?”