Ventnor To Shanklin Rail Link Being Axed

Vital service being axed by council

As part of the forthcoming changes to the bus services on the Isle of Wight, it was announced this week that the council run WightBus Ventnor To Shanklin rail link will be axed from early September.

Ventnor To Shanklin Rail Link Being AxedStuart George of the IW Bus Users Group tells us that as part of the cost cutting, the IW council has decided to completely withdraw the rail-link bus service between Shanklin, Ventnor & St Lawrence.

The replacement buses will be service 31 from St Lawrence to Bonchurch via Castle Close.

They will run Mondays to Fridays at 09.40 & 11.20 and Ventnor (Albert Street) to St Lawrence, via the Botanic Gardens, on Mondays to Fridays at 11.10 & 12.50.

The result of this service being cancelled means that the return fare between Ventnor and Shanklin will double from £3.50 to £7.00.

Still awaiting justification from IW Council
We did contact the council for a statement as to why the service as being cut, but at time of publishing were still waiting for the promised response.

We’ll update here once we receive the response.

Bus users meeting arranged
The IW Bus Users Group will be holding a member’s meeting tomorrow in Newport.

It’s not a public meeting, but they’re always pleased to welcome new members who can join at the meeting (£1 annual subscription).

The meeting takes place at the Southern Vectis Sports & Social Club (opposite the bus station) in South Street, Newport, at 11am.

Friday, 16th July, 2010 5:34pm



Filed under: Bus, Isle of Wight News, St Lawrence, Ventnor

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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.


  1. No surprise there then. Whenever I have travelled on the Rail link bus it has followed or overtaken the No. 3 Bus which seems to connect to the same train services and is four times more frequent.

    the Rail link service was a waste of taxpayers money

    • Except that the 3 does not go to the station and rail passengers with luggage will have even less time to make the link.

      • It’s only a few yards from the bus stop to the station and there always seems more than adequate time to catch the train.

        As a Council Taxpayer I’m not sure why I should pay for the luxury of an additional bus just for a few extra yards. Perhaps the No. 3 could divert into the station, but maybe there isn’t sufficient room for it to turn round

        • intentionally blank

          16.Jul.2010 10:55pm

          sounds sensible. Perhaps the bus stop itself could be moved into the station car park? If I remember correctly, its currently a stop on the road, with no layby to pull into? Surely it would be better for SV to provide a link, better to keep traffic flowing, and better for the railway service too. But I expect there would be objection from the taxi drivers or someone.

          Or, perhaps shanklin should take a book out of rydes example and put the bus station right next to the train station. It would improve traffic flow outside Somerfield, improve traffic connections, and there could still be a bus stop in the town centre. There would be reduced parking in the station of course, but im sure a happy medium could be found

        • Sailor Sam

          16.Jul.2010 11:49pm

          As it states in the article; the rail link bus fare is signifitantly cheaper than the SV service. When i used to travel between Shanklin and Ventnor, I always used the rail link bus. Of course, If they hadn’t closed the railway in the first place….

        • As a council-tax payer you will probably find yourself paying more for the concessionary fare elements to Vectis though.

          The current arrangement has the #3 (to Ryde)hover outside Somerfields /Coop for a while so the suggestion it could hover in the station car park is quite reasonable. It is only a 50yd detour off the route. Similarly the Newport bound #3 could stop there too.

        • Andrew Middleton

          31.Jul.2010 4:40pm

          I suggest, GJ that you get a new tape measure. It is more than a few yard from the bus stop to the station and some of it up hill. You have to get off the bus at Somerfield as you can’t rely on the bus getting to the stop nearer to the station as Southern Vectis have categorically stated that their servic 3 is not designed to feed into the train service, the same as it did when the trains ran to Ventnor (the Southern Vectis Bus got to Ventnor station 3 minutes after the train left). I suggest you try walking it with a heavy suitcase when you are an OAP and to boot you have to cross two busy main roads.

    • When the rail bus was launched, SV altered the timetable for the no 3 so that they ran at the same time.

      • That wasn’t very sporting.

        Be interesting to see whether SV change the timetable of the no.3 to make sure that it doesn’t connect with the train, because it is not in their interest for passengers to get off the bus and on the train going to the same destinations, more or less.

        Hopefully IWC will put some pressure on SV to ensure that they do not disadvantage the public by doing just that. Would not like to put much money on IWC being sharp enough to do so though.

        • Gillian Jenner

          19.Jul.2010 8:19pm

          GJ, I see you have had a flutter of recent postings, which have coincided with me joining Ventnor Town Council.

          Your alias “GJ” creates some ambiguity as we have the same initials. Maybe the use of a third initial would do the trick?

          • No problem, Gillian, I’ll change to LC.

            A further thought re SV changing the timings of the 3 service to coincide with the Rail-link service:
            1. They may have gained revenue from passengers travelling to Shanklin station by bus, but
            2. They may have lost revenue by passengers who would have travelled onwards getting off the bus at Shanklin station and on to the conveniently timed, quicker and cheaper train.

      • “When the rail bus was launched, SV altered the timetable for the no 3 so that they ran at the same time.”

        Where did you get that from? At the time of the start of the Railink service in 2004, route 3 didn’t even go to Shanklin. It ran Newport – Ventnor and that was it. The Ventnor – Shanklin service was provided by the 7 island explorer as it circled the island, and that ran via Wroxall, bar some limited journeys. Therefore, at the time, the Railink did provide a valuable service around Upper Bonchurch etc. And how SV changed to time of the 3 to the same as route 16, when they served completely different places, I’ll never know.

        • @Dave: When the SV network was re-vamped 5 years ago, the new number 3 (a merge of the former 3 and 7B routes) was arranged so the departure times from both Ventnor and Shanklin (towards the other) were the same as the 16 (to within 2-3 minutes). The old 7/7A7B route used to follow/lead the 16 by a significant gap – from memory about 15-20 minutes.

          That’s why it is a valid comment – somewhere, a concious decision was made by Southern Vectis to run the route 3 at the same times as the 16.

          Interestingly, when that happened, I wrote to Ventnor Town Council – who had some input – to suggest the 16 be re-timed to meet the other train, and prevent the buses running one after the other. They refused to consider it, for reasons such as contract and reliability.

          I for one am sad to see the Rail Link go.

          • Andrew Middleton

            31.Jul.2010 5:07pm

            Originally all SVOC buses to Shanklin and Ryde from Ventnor went the same way as the rail bus via Cowleaze.
            Then SVOC revamped the Route 7 buses as they had by then become so that most ran via Wroxall and a few ran Via Cowleaze.
            They then removed all the 7’s that ran via cowleaze claiming that it was not economically viable to route a bus that way despite requests from residents on the Cowleaze route so all buses from Ryde and Shanklin ran through Wroxall.
            The rail bus was the innaugurated via Cowleaze and after a while I understand SVOC stationed an inspector at the car park stop in Shanklin Old Village, counting the passengers on the rail bus. Then SVOC revamped all their routes stopping the 7 service from Ryde to Blackgang and extending the service 3 from newport so that it ran on from Ventnor to Shanklin and Ryde via Cowleaze and timing it such that it ran 3 minutes in advance of the railbus in both directions, to deliberately steal the customers from the rail bus.
            Amazing how the Cowleaze route suddenly became economically viable isn’t it and now the residents of Wroxall have to spend am extra half hour on the bus if they want to go to Shanklin as they are forced to go via Ventnor.
            SVOC tried exactly the same dirty trick on the route to St. Lawrence by extending their service 6 from Park Avenue to St Lawrence, having refused categorically to run a service to St Lawrence and seing the rail bus succeeding.
            However they quickly got their fingers burnt because the residents of St Lawrence voted with their feet and refused to use their buses, using the rail bus instead.

        • Okay!! However I will rephrase my comment to the fact that ” SV changed the times of the bus service running from Ventnor to Shanklin to coincide with the times of the rail link bus!! I used to watch this (and still do) from my window which overlooks a bus stop which serves this route!! Happy now??

  2. Steephill Jack

    26.Jul.2010 8:48pm

    Can anyone explain why County Councillor Susan Scoccia is organising a petition against the cut to the rail link bus when she could have/maybe should have voted against it when the Council decided on these cuts ?
    Wight Bus is a Council funded operation and the Council decides the policy.
    Perhaps there never was a vote ? But she is part of the Conservative Party Council membership and could have/ maybe should have some influence.
    To whom is her petition addressed ? It doesn’t say: is it to the Council or is it to Wight Bus, and are they not the same thing anyway ?
    I am confused.

  3. David Spencer

    13.Sep.2010 12:54pm

    I have read everyones comments above and clearly most support and prefer public transport but all are appealing for “service”. Bus services sadly in the UK as a whole are commercially run and operators dont care about service. In the West Midlands the local passenger transport authority also wanted service and converted a railway line into a Parry People Mover tram line. It was all done by cooperation between manufacturer, local authority, railway operator and the Government. The vehicles are revolutionary trams and although the original track was used, the manufacturer of the trams also promotes its own carpet track which seems to be so easy to lay without any digging up. I do suggest that the local authoity in Shanklin and Ventnor reopen the closed railway from Shanklin to Ventnor town and consider Parry People Mover Ltd as a concept for a way forward.

  4. John Hyde

    24.Feb.2014 8:26pm

    Reopen the railway from Shanklin to Ventnor, it should never have been closed.

    • Angry man

      24.Feb.2014 8:40pm

      A fantastic idea, but will never happen. Many properties have now extended their gardens onto the railway line, Southern Water own the tunnel at Ventnor and the where would the money it would cost to do come from?

      Beeching has much to answer to, not only around the UK, but also in Ventnor!

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