Five two-car Vivarail Class 484 electric multiple units have been ordered by South Western Railway for use on the Isle of Wight.
Developed from Vivarail’s Class 230 D-Train, the five trains will replace the Class 483s on the island that date from 1938 when they were delivered to London as Tube stock.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “These trains have diligently served passengers since 1938 – coinciding with the first ever edition of The Beano and the maiden voyage of the record-setting Mallard steam train - so this upgrade is a long overdue boost.
“This investment in the Island Line means more punctual, reliable trains and better connections to ferry services, supporting local residents, businesses and tourism. This underlines our determination to provide passengers across the country with the modern rail network they expect.”
SWR Managing Director Andy Mellors said: “This is a great day for the Isle of Wight. 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 Island Line’s history.”
The Class 484s will be refurbished at Long Marston, and will provide more capacity than the existing 81-year-old trains. They will be fitted with passenger information systems and wi-fi.
Vivarail CEO Adrian Shooter said: “It is a great privilege for Vivarail to be part of the wholesale upgrade of the Island Line. Vivarail will be building third-rail trains to make best use of Island Line's electrified track. 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 first ‘484’ will be delivered for testing in early summer next year, with track improvement work to take place over winter 2020.
For the FULL story, read RAIL 888, published on September 25, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from September 21.