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Steaming back into Ryde?

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Christopher125, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Member

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    The frontpage of the Isle of Wight Country Press has declared that 'Steam trains could return to Ryde within the next decade'

    - Top-level discussions have been taking place between the government and the local MP for the past year 'which could result in the transfer of the Island Line franchise from South West Trains to the Island community and run by a social enterprise partnership'.

    - In February the local MP and Council Leader will meet with Claire Perry, and on the agenda will be creating an Island Line Task Force, largely paid for by the DfT, with the aim of securing the line's future.

    - Also under discussion are 'radical plans' which could see the 1938 stock replaced with diesel trains and the third rail removed, which could supposedly allow steam trains back into Ryde Esplanade (though they would be too heavy for the pier)

    - The IWSR's general manager is reported as supporting the return of steam to Esplanade 'in principle' but said getting to Ryde St John's Road was a more realistic aim.

    - Funding would come from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.

    Though they may be pursuing this with the best of intentions, it's concerning that the IWSR don't appear to be at the heart of these discussions - if they were I can't imagine there would be any talk of Esplanade which really doesn't make much sense. The changes to Island Line strike me as somewhat unwise too, Diesel stock seems a backwards step with few options available.

    Chris
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
  2. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    Odd really and I agree a backward step.
     
  3. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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    Was there any talk over the line on the pier as in 2012 when I was last over there this came under discussion about the IWSR taking over the line but many millions were needed to be spent on the pier in repairs. Sounds a good idea but will it work.
     
  4. gwalkeriow

    gwalkeriow Well-Known Member

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    We must get cracking to restore a few more coaches :)

    There is much going on behind the scenes, the discussions do very much involve the IOWSR. Getting rid of the third rail is a very sensible course of action IMHO, much simpler to use diesel units (Speaking as an Ex BR fitter). One of the main alterations required would be changing the platform heights back for Mainline stock, which of course gives the advantage of compatibility with the Steam Railways stock.

    Could be exciting times ahead for the Islands Railways
     
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  5. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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  6. gwalkeriow

    gwalkeriow Well-Known Member

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  7. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    So is this where the Pacers will end up?:D
     
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  8. gwalkeriow

    gwalkeriow Well-Known Member

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    Please NO! That would be the death of the Island Railway
     
  9. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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    So you will have to step up the "Pace" on the coach renovation then !!!! and send the Pacers further south to France. :D
     
  10. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    And I thought that you like 4wh coaches, especially with air brakes!
     
  11. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Member

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    It's hard to see either being available in the foreseeable future, but if I understand former staff on the SEMG yahoo group correctly they would be too long anyway - apparently the sharp reverse-curve restricts vehicle length quite severely?
     
  12. gwalkeriow

    gwalkeriow Well-Known Member

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    I believe that it is just Ryde tunnel that is passed for 150 and 158, the rest of the line may have other restrictions. I would have thought that with the previous proposal many years ago to use ex Merseyside 503 units that the 150s would be reasonably gauge friendly. I have no idea which type of units are being proposed (just hope it is not pacers)
     
  13. damianrhysmoore

    damianrhysmoore Well-Known Member

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  14. Christopher125

    Christopher125 Member

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    Was this connected to the work done to the roof? I can understand sufficient headroom being provided as part of the work, perhaps giving the impression that mainland designs would fit, but it does surprise me that they'd go to the bother of actually gauging the entire tunnel.

    As for the 503s, these unusually had 17-17.5m bodies more akin to tube stock than the standard 20/23m mainline designs - however even that involved singling and slewing the track through the tunnel IIRC.

    As for what's being proposed now, the only half-sensible option I can think of is those London Underground D Stock trains fitted with Ford Transit engines currently being touted for replacing Pacers.

    Chris
     
  15. Islander

    Islander Member

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    The County Press and other local groups/individuals have been more than happy to commit the IWSR to numerous expansion schemes over the years, at least this time its not suggested we take on the whole Island Line operation! The GM's response is sensible and fairly neutral.

    My personal view on any extension of the current IWSR is that there is no solid business case unless the Island Line ceases to exist and we lose the Smallbrook interchange. It may then be worth extending to Ryde St Johns Road, where we still have a chance to pick up passengers. Any extension will result in increased running costs, requirement for more carriages and working locomotives, possibly a greater number of two-train service days, more staff - and could we charge any more than we already do?

    If this proposal is for occasional special runs to one of the Ryde stations then fair enough, my assumption being that someone else other than the IWSR picks up the bill for any infra work that may be needed.

    I am bit of a cynic about such schemes, from Vectrail (1960s) onwards there has been much talk (often from people who speak in a loud voice that means nothing!) and little action. Not holding my breath!
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
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  16. Islander

    Islander Member

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    Worth a look is the IWSR's Strategic Vision document, last updated 2013. To quote from it:

    ' Ryde St. John’s Road

    We are actively pursuing the opportunity to extend our operations into Ryde St. John’s Road station and, if this becomes possible, will seek to maximise the commercial and other opportunities it may provide. We acknowledge that any such extension may radically alter our operations and may trigger a review of this document'.


    I believe that an extension, as opposed to occasional running, is only going to be viable if the circumstances more or less force us into it. There is quite a lot of risk involved and it's something that cannot not be undertaken lightly.

    Although there is some work obviously going on to secure the future of Island Line, it's stories like this (and a Solent Fixed Link) that sell the County Press!
     
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  17. philw2

    philw2 New Member

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    We may be looking at a consolidation of transport on the Island.

    Tf IOW sort of thing.. To re-generate the island the council will have to resurrect the railways.
     
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  18. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    This is just the sort of comment to provoke groans of exasperation from IOWSR management and was anticipated by "Islander" earlier on. Do you have any idea how much the Ryde to Shanklin line loses each year? This is before the enormous expenditure required on renovation. It will take some doing to raise the funding whatever scheme is decided upon.

    Meanwhile the council will "have to resurrect the railways". No it won't and even the most light thinking of the general public won't want it to if the cost falls on them, especially if they live somewhere which doesn't benefit. You would be of much more help in pressing for refurbishment of the existing section without gaining the reputation of a hopeless romantic.

    PH
     
  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Seriously? I rather suspect that the economics and politics of running an integrated transport service in London (8,000,000 population and 73 MPs all desperate to pour money without limit into transport schemes) is rather different from running an integrated transport scheme in an island with 140,000 population and a Parliamentary lobbying power of precisely 1!

    Tom
     
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  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    At which point, a comparison across the fence at Smallbrook Junction would demonstrate that the march of history is not always in a positive direction!

    Tom
     
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