We temporarily closed the Island Line while we improve your trains for a smoother ride and more frequent service. Download our full replacement bus timetable to plan your journey.
Why is the Island Line closed?
In September 2019, alongside the Department for Transport, we announced a major upgrade to Island Line, securing the long-term future of the line.
Funding provided by the Department for Transport, Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and the Isle of Wight Council, will see £26m invested into Island Line helping us to deliver a modern railway for the Isle of Wight.
As part of this project we will replace 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 will be former London Underground trains, extensively refurbished by Vivarail in Long Marston. These newer trains will thoroughly modernise the customer experience on Island Line bringing new features such as free on-board Wi-Fi, improved passenger information, at seat charging points and wheelchair spaces.
With five trains in service, we will also be able to run longer trains at busier times, such as during the summer.
Take a look inside the Class 484
Visit the Vivarail website to take a look at the Class 484 train interiors.
This investment will also see us deliver upgrades to Island Line’s infrastructure, including a new passing loop at Brading, which will allow us to run regular 30-minute services improving connections with Wightlink ferries. The work to upgrade the track will also make journeys smoother, and upgrades to platforms to improve access to the Class 484 trains.
From January 4 2021, services on Island Line have been replaced by buses, whilst the work to upgrade the line’s infrastructure is carried out. Following these works, the Class 484 trains will be introduced into service, with the regular 30-minute service introduced when the line reopens.
We’re also making improvements to our stations, with free station Wi-Fi being rolled out across Island Line, and providing new ticket vending machines at Shanklin, Sandown and Ryde St Johns Road.
Planning your journey
Throughout these works, a replacement bus service will run between Shanklin and Ryde Esplanade to keep our passengers moving. Click the link below for the full bus replacement timetable.
A shuttle bus will operate twice an hour between Ryde Pier Head and Ryde Esplanade to link with Wightlink Ferries. Wightlink advise customers to be at the Pier Head a minimum of 15 mins prior to sailing departure times.
The 20 minute parking bay at Ryde Esplanade station has been closed to facilitate the shuttle bus operation.
Whilst Island line is upgraded, a replacement bus service to the Steam Railway will also be in operation from Ryde Esplanade to Havenstreet, on the hour, from 10:00 to 16:00.
replacement bus timetable
31 August saw another new train arrive by ferry onto the island meaning four of the five 484 trains are now in their new home. The old 483 trains have all now been removed to make space for the new trains. Unit 483007 has gone to the Isle of Wight steam railway, unit 483004 is now at Hollier’s Park on the Isle of Wight where it will be transformed into a café, and unit 483008 will go across the to the mainland to be stored on behalf of the London Transport Group.
Good progress has been made with the testing of the trains and the infrastructure works are largely complete with only snagging items to deal with. The heavy rainfall in early August caused flash flooding in many areas, with the running water having a significant impact on several areas of the Island Line track. Our depot at Ryde St John’s was also flooded and 16 sites on the Island needed urgent attention, requiring 200 tonnes of ballast from the mainland.
The project has faced a number of unforeseen obstacles. First the impact of COVID-19 and the effect this had on the work force and supply chain, followed by issues with the software on the new trains and finally, the severe flooding. The impact of the flooding added uncertainty to our programme however , we are pleased that the Island Line is set to reopen on 1st November 2021, subject to a final round of train testing.
We are as disappointed as our customers by how long it has taken to reopen the line but we know the new railway will be worth the wait and customers will soon be enjoying all the benefits the upgrade will bring to the island.
Engineering work gallery
See the latest images from the construction work taking place. Click the image to see it full-size in a new tab.