The Anonymous Widower

Reinstatement Of Branch Lines On The Isle Of Wight

This is one of the successful bids in the First Round of the Restoring Your Railway Fund.

This article on isleofwhiteradio is entitled Funding From Government To Develop Isle Of Wight Railway Reopening Proposals.

The article lists two proposed schemes for expansion of the Island Line.

• Extension of the existing Island Line service (Ryde-Shanklin) south of Shanklin to reach Ventnor, calling at Wroxall.
• Integration with, and extension of, the existing Isle of Wight Steam Railway route to provide passenger services through Smallbrook from Ryde to Newport.

The article has an informative map.

Nearly, three years ago, I wrote Diesel And Battery Trains Could Be The Solution For Island Line, based on an article on the Island Echo, with the same title.

Since then, things have moved on and these developments have started.

  • Vivarail are building a fleet of five new zero-carbon Class 484 electric trains.
  • Network Rail have promised £5 million to upgrade Ryde Pier to secure the future of the line.
  • The track and signalling system will be upgraded this winter.
  • The passing loop at Brading will be reinstated.

This will allow a thirty minute service interval from May 2021.

Wikipedia states that a twenty-minute service could be possible in the future.

The Trains

These pictures show the Class 230 trains on the Marston Vale Line.

Note.

  1. These are a diesel-electric version of the Class 484, which will use the existing third-rail electrification and possibly batteries on the Island Line.
  2. The operator can choose an interior appropriate to their needs.
  3. Three-car versions of the train have been ordered by Transport for Wales.

Battery versions of the train are available with a forty-mile range, See Retired London Underground Train Travels Forty Miles Solely On Battery Power.

The Extension To Ventnor

Looking at the map and measuring distance using methods that would have been known to Drake and Grenville, I estimate that the distance between Shanklin and Ventnor via Wroxhall is less than fifteen miles.

  • As the battery range of Vivarail’s trains can be in the region of forty miles, this must open up the possibility of using battery power between Shanklin and Ventnor.
  • Building the extension without electrification would lower the cost.
  • Trains running from Shanklin to Ventnor would be charged on the electrified section of the route.
  • One of Vivarail’s charging systems could be installed at Ventnor if required. See Charging A Battery-Powered Class 230 Train.

Would Vivarail just add a third car with batteries to the Class 484 trains and update the software to enable trains to run on the extension to Ventnor?

The Extension To Newport

The Island Line connects to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway at Smallbrook Junction station.

Note.

  1. The Island line running North-South on the Eastern side of the map.
  2. The Isle of Wight Steam Railway curving away to the South-West.
  3. The two railways connecting at Smallbrook Junction station.
  4. Ryde is to the North.
  5. Shanklin is to the South.
  6. Newport is to the West.

I doubt, that allowing trains to run between Ryde and Newport, would be one of the most challenging projects in railway engineering.

The map on the isleofwightradio web site, shows a chord, that would allow trains to run between Shanklin and Newport.

I would estimate that the distance between Smallbrook Junction and Newport is around ten miles.

  • The terminus would appear to be in the Barton area of Newport.
  • Much of the route would appear to be across open countryside.
  • The only place for a station could be the Isle of Wight Crematorium. Why not?

As with the extension to Ventnor, I believe that battery-electric Class 484 trains could run services to Newport.

Will The Isle Of Wight Steam Railway Object?

I very much feel, that if the scheme is well-designed, that they could be a beneficiary because of increased numbers of visitors.

The scheme might also be able to give the steam railway paths to run steam trains as far as Ryde St. John’s Road station.

Conclusion

This proposal is an elegant one, that uses proven technology and builds smoothly on work, that is already underway.

It is also a zero-carbon solution, if the electricity is from renewable sources.

I also suspect, if Network Rail put one of their brighter teams on the current upgrade to the track and signalling of the Island Line, that the extra work needed to connect to Ventnor and Newport, could be planned and costed in a very short time.

 

 

May 27, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Isle of Wight Line’s Future Secured With £26m Investment

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Railway Gazette.

This is the first paragraph.

Investment of £26m to secure the future of the 13·7 km line between Ryde and Shanklin on the Isle of Wight was announced on September 16. This includes infrastructure modernisation and replacement of the life-expired fleet of small profile ex-London Underground trains which date back to 1938.

A few more details.

Infrastructure

Improvements will include.

  • The track will be renewed and the electrical systems will be modernised to improve reliability and ride.
  • A passing loop will be installed at Brading.
  • South Western Railway will improve the important stations.

The track improvements will allow a half-hourly service to link up with the ferries to the mainland.

Rolling Stock

These Class 483 trains will be replaced.

They will be replayed by trains similar to these.

The pictures show Class 230 trains, which are diesel-electric versions of the electric Class 484 trains that will be used on the Island Line.

  • Both trains are two car sets, which will work in pairs.
  • The new trains will have a capacity of 172 seats, as opposed to the 84 seats of the current stock.
  • The speed of the new trains is 60 mph, as opposed to the 45 mph of the current stock.
  • It would appear that the new fleet includes a spare train, which should improve reliability.

The extra speed and the passing loop at Brading will enable the half-hourly timetable.

In Battery Class 230 Train Demonstration At Bo’ness And Kinneil Railway, I describe a ride in a battery/electric version of the Class 230 train.

The noise levels were very low and I suspect the Class 484 train will be a quiet ride.

Conclusion

There may be better and much more expensive solutions, but this is a practical one, that is affordable, with little risk.

I also think that £26million to secure the island Line for upwards of a dozen years, is not a bad investment.

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 4 Comments