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Garnett report advises trams for the Isle of Wight

Trams could replace trains on the Isle of Wight to reduce operating costs, according to a new study. They would take over from former London Underground stock that was built in 1938.

The study also concludes that services on the 8.5-mile route between Shanklin and Ryde Pier would be better served as a micro-franchise, instead of forming part of the next South West Trains franchise.

The work was carried out by former GNER Chief Executive Christopher Garnett on behalf of the Isle of Wight Council. Its objective is to inform the Department for Transport’s specification for a new SWT franchise, to start in July 2017. It was announced on February 4 that two operators - Stagecoach and FirstGroup - would be invited to compete for the new contract.

Transport Minister Claire Perry said that while there was no desire to close the line, a more cost-effective and self-sustaining solution would need to be found. Her statement added: “This could include… setting up a social enterprise to take over the running of the line.”

It is understood that the Island Line generates around £1 million a year in fares, but costs £4.5m to run.

  • For more on this, read RAIL 794, published on February 17.

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  • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 15/02/2016 11:09

    So trams would be ideal for Isle of Wright with the former London Underground tube stock trains to be replaced by trams and the tram lines could even be extended to IoW county town-Newport and other towns including East Cowes, West Cowes and Yarmouth with some of the derelict and disused railway lines to be retained and rebuilt for trams to be used in the Isle of Wright.

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  • BigTone - 15/02/2016 18:43

    I should imagine the trams will be 3rd rail powered as there will not be room for overhead wires through the tunnels but this will rule out any on-street running

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    • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 15/02/2016 19:34

      3rd Rail Trams? Running on DC 750v DC 3rd Rail. Impossible.

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      • BigTone - 15/02/2016 21:13

        Why is that? If it's voltage, no sweat, just modify the substations to right voltage. As I said, overhead is out because of the tunnels. That is why they are using ex-tube stock.

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  • FrankH - 15/02/2016 22:58

    Trams equal low level platforms which IOW doesn't have, with the money the systems losing I can't see wholesale conversion of stations being on the agenda or new being built.

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    • BigTone - 15/02/2016 23:36

      Actually Frank, I cannot see it being much of a job. Bear in mind that over winter the railway could be shut down. To modify each station, all you need is a pneumatic drill, a JCB and a lorry load of tarmac.

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      • FrankH - 16/02/2016 10:07

        Slightly over simplified but I get your drift. Maybe a backward step using diesel but Vivarails D train might not be a bad option.

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        • BigTone - 18/02/2016 19:17

          The D trains might be too tall. The tunnels had the trackbed built up because of flooding problems hence using tube stock. The D trains although from London Underground are built to surface stock dimensions I'm led to believe

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          • FrankH - 19/02/2016 22:30

            A, C and D stock are 11ft 11 inch or 3.62 metre tall. The rest are 2.869-2.875 high or about 9ft 3 inch. Quite a difference.

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  • Alex Fisher - 19/02/2016 00:25

    Unique system that seems to do the job,why not find rolling stock that meets the needs of the locals / visitors and the infrastructure. What about using more modern tube stock ? As clearances seem to be issue this would be ideal solution. Keep the Island Line a part of main franchise,so that the best solution can be found to this unique part of Britain's railway network.

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    • FrankH - 25/02/2016 04:13

      Now that's a logical approach to the problem. It'll never happen though, to obvious. They'll probably end up with brand new 3rd rail trams built to suit the system so they'll be slightly lower than normal. In fact if you glance at them they'll look just like new tube stock but they'll call them trams.

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