The Anonymous Widower

Will We Get Trams On The Isle Of Wight?

The Island Line on the Isle of Wight, is an oddity in that it is part-tourist attraction, part-commuter link and part-important railway, run using old London Underground tube trains. I wrote about my only ride on the line in A Trip On The Island Line.

According to this report on Rail Magazine, which is entitled Garnett report advises trams for the Isle of Wight, it would be better if the line was redeveloped using trams or light rail, and probably run under much greater local control.

I agree, but I can already hear moans from people who want to keep the line as it is. But it must be a maintenance and operational nightmare! All credit should probably go to South West Trains and their partners, who keep this museum piece running.

I also feel that there could be some innovative form of light rail, run on this difficult line, using a mix of all the new technologies now coming in to the mainstream.

  • Ability to run on a well-laid standard gauge  track, without electrification.
  • Battery/flywheel and electric operation with charging at end and interchanges to give a range of five to ten miles between charging stations.
  • Spacious, step-free and enough vehicles, with the capacity of probably a three-car tram.
  • Street running capability.
  • Totally automatic or semi-automatic one-man operation.
  • Tramway-style infrastructure and rules, so stops would be safe and simple.
  • Several trips an hour frequency
  • Contactless bank card ticketing.

In some ways the nearest form of transport at present is a Parry People Mover. But these are just not big or automated enough. However a modern tram run with more automation and on batteries could be a solution.

I think there is an opportunity on the Isle of Wight to create the prototype of an advanced form of self-contained, environmentally-friendly transport system.

The Island Line is unique in the UK at the moment, but I can think of several places, where this form of automatic light rail people mover might be a solution.

There must be many places in the UK and around the world, where a simple standard drop-in automatic light rail system can be applied.

Many could even be built by local commercial interests or authorities.





February 16, 2016 - Posted by | Travel | , , ,

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