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The 13.7km line’s current fleet of class 483 EMUs first entered service on the London Underground in 1938 and are older than some vehicles that operate on the island’s heritage railway.
Vivarail has been awarded a contract to supply five rebuilt former London Underground two-car class 484 EMUs, which will improve capacity and accessibility and will be equipped with passenger information systems and Wi-Fi. The 750v dc third rail trains will offer gangways which will allow barrier-free accesses.
Rail minister, Mr Chris Heaton-Harris, visited Brading station on the Isle of Wight on September 16 to announce the funding, which follows an announcement that infrastructure manager Network Rail will renew track on Ryde railway pier where trains connect with ferries to Portsmouth on the mainland.
Isle of Wight Council and Solent Local Enterprise Partnership have agreed to jointly contribute £1m to fund a new passing loop at Brading, helping to deliver a consistent half-hourly service on the line.
DfT will support the investment in rolling stock and infrastructure renewal. The first train is expected to arrive on test in early summer 2020, with track improvement works due to take place over the winter.
The proposals submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) followed an initial stakeholder consultation in autumn 2017. Feedback from that consultation was then considered by the Island Forum, made of stakeholders including IOW Community Rail Partnership, IOW Steam Railway, the IOW Bus and Rail Users Group, bus operator Southern Vectis, pressure group Keep Island Line in Franchise (KILF), and ferry operators Wightlink and Hovertravel, with detailed proposals reported back to a steering group.
“This investment in the Island Line means more punctual, reliable trains and better connections to ferry services, supporting local residents, businesses and tourism,” Heaton-Harris says. “This underlines our determination to provide passengers across the country with the modern rail network they expect.”
“This is a great day for the Isle of Wight,” says South Western Railway managing director, Mr Andy Mellors. “I want to pay tribute to our team at Island Line who have kept the current 1938 stock going for so long and to all of the stakeholders who helped us develop our proposals. I look forward to our continuing partnership as we deliver the next exciting chapter in the island line’s history.”
“Vivarail will be building third-rail trains to make best use of Island Line’s electrified track,” says Vivarail CEO, Mr Adrian Shooter. “This follows on from our diesel units for West Midlands Railway and battery/diesel trains for Transport for Wales – and is an example of how flexible the train is.”
The post Fleet and track upgrades in £26m Isle of Wight investment appeared first on International Railway Journal.
This article first appeared on www.railjournal.com
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