In 2021 Island Line was closed for a £26 million transformation of the railway’s trains, stations and infrastructure as part of South Western Railway’s Journey to Better.
The Island Line Upgrade
The project, which has been funded by the Department for Transport, Isle of Wight Council and Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, has seen the old 1938 tube trains, which had served the Island since 1989, eased into a well-earned retirement.
These trains have been replaced with the new Class 484 fleet, which have transformed the customer experience, with upgraded interiors, plug sockets, wheelchair spaces and free WiFi.
To complement the new trains, the Island’s rail infrastructure has been drastically improved, with upgraded tracks helping customers to enjoy a smoother ride and raised platforms set to improve accessibility.
As part of this project we replaced the existing 82-year-old Island Line fleet, with newer and reliable trains, the Class 484.In keeping with Island Line’s tradition, these trains are former London Underground trains, extensively refurbished by Vivarail in Long Marston. These newer trains have transformed the customer experience on the line, with upgraded interiors, passenger information screens, plug sockets, at-seat charging points, wheelchair spaces and free WiFi.
With five trains in service, there’s also greater flexibility to run longer trains at busier times, such as during the summer.
Engineers made adjustments to platform heights to reduce the gap between the train and the platform to improve accessibility to the trains as well as installing new signalling equipment and electrical upgrades to improve the reliability and resilience of the line for years to come.
A key benefit of the upgrade programme has been the installation of a new passing loop at Brading, which will enable us to increase service frequency as demand returns. We are progressing the plans to allow us to offer customers the choice of two trains per hour.
The project also saw improvements made to the track, which greatly improves the ride comfort compared to the bumpy ride from the previous trains and track, alongside investments in Ryde Pier to prolong the life of the listed structure.
We have also made improvements to our stations, with free station Wi-Fi being rolled out across Island Line, and new ticket vending machines at Shanklin, Sandown and Ryde St Johns Road.
Planning your journey
Click the link below for the full Island Line timetable.