Island Line Upgrade

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alex397

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Plenty (10-15?) of orange folk can be seen around the Pier Head this morning, gathered at the end of the platform and wandering down the track - looks like quite a thorough inspection? https://isleofwightwebcams.co.uk/solent-webcam/
It is closed this weekend between Pier Head and St John’s Road.

I have just been to the island, and what a great experience it is. Sad to see the 483s go from an enthusiasts point of view, and they have lasted exceptionally well. But it is certainly time for them to go - it isn't meant to be a heritage railway after all. Great to see the wooden sleepers, semaphore signals, and to experience the 'clickety clack' of the rails. But you can tell the upgrades are needed! It is incredibly bouncy in places, and I found it amusing to see the 'experience flight' adverts for Hovertravel on the train, while at the same time feeling like I was actually about to experience flight!

On Friday (9th Oct) there also appeared to be a temporary speed restriction, somewhere between Brading and Smallbrook. A railway workman was in attendance. Trains very slowly passed.

While travelling at night, the stations did feel very dingy. Especially Shanklin Station, which appears to be some sort of youth club in the evenings. It wasn't pleasant being alone at the station, with a large group all hiding in the darkness smoking weed and throwing things at me - who then boarded the train while still smoking the stuff (but jumped off before the staff could see them). Hopefully they make the stations a little less dingy during the upgrade.

The railway has plenty of things going for it - and the staff were generally friendly, helpful and chatty. It seems like a good team working on the line.
 
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philthetube

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Or a 20 min service with 2 spares, 1 running spare and 1 for overhaul etc. Higher resiliency is needed because of location.
 

Gloster

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Or a combination: usually 2 in service and one running spare, but maintenance schedules arranged so as to have 2 pairs in use on (those very rare) peak days. The fifth set could be a spare on the day or under longer-term maintenance. I doubt there will be a 20 minute service, just a more even one with better FastCat connections.
 

Chris125

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Any idea what's happening on October 31st? They are closing the whole line, on a saturday, for 'maintenance works' which is a bit unusual.

Or a 20 min service with 2 spares, 1 running spare and 1 for overhaul etc. Higher resiliency is needed because of location.
SWR have been very clear about running a half hourly service with trains passing at Brading, hence the new loop - they've said a 20min service will remain possible but I can't recall any commitment to actually run one. Even if they do, operating it often enough to justify extra rolling stock seems unimaginable.
 

BayPaul

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Or a 20 min service with 2 spares, 1 running spare and 1 for overhaul etc. Higher resiliency is needed because of location.
Surely if they wanted to run a 20 minute service they wouldn't have bothered with the cost of putting a loop in at Brading. A 20 minute service makes little sense.
 

Vespa

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If a passing loop is installed at Brading, with 2 passing loops, you can in theory have 4 tph on the line, it would require perfect synchronisation between trains.
 

K.o.R

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If a passing loop is installed at Brading, with 2 passing loops, you can in theory have 4 tph on the line, it would require perfect synchronisation between trains.
Brading brings it up to 3 loops, which I think would all be needed to run 4tph
 

takno

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Surely if they wanted to run a 20 minute service they wouldn't have bothered with the cost of putting a loop in at Brading. A 20 minute service makes little sense.
The loop going in at Brading needs a reasonable justification, and the 30 minute service is it.

Not removing an existing loop needs far less justification. Sure you're probably going to have to replace the points and a couple of hundred yards of plain track to keep the existing loop running, but you're not adding a signal box or staff, and you presumably won't need to do any complex trackbed work.

Between the slight increase in operational resilience and the possibility of running 3tph sometimes in the future it seems well worth keeping the old loop.
 

Gloster

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I doubt there is really a need for a Metro-style 20-minute frequency in the foreseeable future (although foreseeing the future is even more difficult than usual at the moment). One of the main disadvantages would be that you would not gain the convenient connection with the Fastcats, even if they usually only run at half-hourly intervals in the peaks.

Neither Ryde nor Sandown stations are well placed for the town centres and the others are only reasonable: Lake is probably best. The parallel buses run quarter-hourly, even on Sundays and serve the town centres and places such as the Tesco superstore, so you are unlikely to greatly increase the number of local passengers. The main traffic is always going to be through Ryde Pier Head, making good Fastcat connections important.
 

Chris125

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Or, reality will bite in a year or two's time and SWR (or their successor) decides that double track from Ryde to Smallbrook Jn is a luxury.

That's not in much doubt, but is it SWR's responsibility to rationalise someone else's infrastructure? Any unnecessary risk and expense for SWR seems hard to justify even if Network Rail wanted to contribute, but they deferred their own scheme to resignal the line (involving a Brading loop) back in 2011/12.
 

Gloster

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Isn’t the status of the Islandline infrastructure different from the rest of the network? Is it leased from Network Rail by SWR? If so, up to what limits are SWR and their contractors free to make their own decisions as to what work to carry out?
 

pompeyfan

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Isn’t the status of the Islandline infrastructure different from the rest of the network? Is it leased from Network Rail by SWR? If so, up to what limits are SWR and their contractors free to make their own decisions as to what work to carry out?
SWR are responsible for the infrastructure on IL, but still have to work to NR standards.
 

pompeyfan

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On a complete tangent but somewhat related. I believe the tamper that went over to the island is currently working on the 3 new roads at Fratton.
 

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