Island Line Trains

This article is about the train operating company. For other uses, see Island Line (disambiguation).
Island Line Trains
Franchise(s): Island Line
13 October 1996 – 3 February 2007
Part of South Western franchise
4 February 2007 – 3 February 2017
Main area(s): Isle of Wight
Fleet size: 5
Stations called at: 8
National Rail abbreviation: IL
Parent company: South West Trains (Stagecoach)
Line length: 8 miles 34 chains
Gauge: Standard
Operating speed: 45 mph (72 km/h) max.
Former logo of Island Line

Island Line Trains is a train operating company which runs the 8 12-mile Island Line on the Isle of Wight. Island Line is part of South West Trains, a rail franchise in the United Kingdom owned by Stagecoach.


Before Island Line

From 1985 to 1990 rail services on the Isle of Wight operated under the brand RydeRail. In 1986 Network SouthEast was created, itself part of British Rail, and RydeRail was incorporated into it as a sub-brand.

Island Line

The name Island Line first came into use in 1989, when Class 483 trains were introduced on the route. This new brand name and a logo were included on the trains' livery. However, this re-branding did not officially occur until 1994,[1] when it had completely replaced all RydeRail branding. From 1989 until 1996, Island Line existed as a sub-brand of Network SouthEast. In 1996, passenger services on the line were privatised as the Island Line franchise, with the winning bid from Stagecoach (legal name Island Line Limited[2]). On commencing operations on 13 October 1996 the name Island Line for the passenger service was retained.

Island Line was the only passenger franchise that included maintenance of the infrastructure in addition to the running of passenger services. Island Line was reportedly Britain’s most reliable and punctual train company. The shortness and simplicity of the route may be the reason for this.

The Island Line franchise was, until February 2007, the smallest train operating company on the National Rail network. It was combined with the South West franchise to make the new South Western franchise in an effort to reduce the number of Train Operating Companies.[3]

Although South West Trains now operates the line, the Island Line branding has been retained.[4] Island Line Trains have repainted all their stations in a heritage cream and green colour scheme, as part of a general station improvement package.[5]

Rolling stock

Island Line train in dinosaur livery

Standard National Rail vehicle types cannot be used by Island Line Trains, due to the low ceiling of Ryde Tunnel.[6] Instead, services are operated using Class 483 units, which are refurbished ex London Underground tube trains originally built in 1938. These replaced the older Class 485 and Class 486 units, which dated from 1923 and were introduced to the island in 1967 when the line was electrified.

When the Class 483 trains were introduced, they were painted in the standard Network SouthEast livery. In 2000, several years after the start of the original franchise, the stock was painted into a blue livery with large pictures of dinosaurs, aiming to entice tourists in the summer months when passenger numbers are high. Two units were later painted into London Transport colours, which the units would have had when operating on the London Underground. There are yellow warning panels on the front ends of the units, a modern feature for the benefit of track workers and a change compared with the original red. The entire fleet was repainted into this livery by the end of 2008.

Following its successful bid for the new integrated franchise, South West Trains announced that there were no plans to replace the current rolling stock, instead they would invest "to ensure the continued viability of the existing Island Line rolling stock and infrastructure".[7] Trains that are similar to mass transit that is smaller may be bought soon from any metro system, such as London Underground.

As a cost-cutting exercise, South West Trains bought the rolling stock from the leasing company HSBC Rail in March 2007.[8] This means the leasing costs, which were reimbursed by the government, have been eliminated, thereby lowering the line's tax burden.

Island Line Class 483 No. 004 at the refurbished Ryde St. Johns Road station

Refurbishment of trains and stations

The refreshed interior of an Island Line Class 483 train

The six current Class 483 trains (including stored 483002) have recently benefited from a further refurbishment, the work featured the following:

The stations have also benefited from a refurbishment of the following:[9]

 Class  Image  Type   Top speed   Number   Routes operated   Built 
 mph   km/h 
Class 483 electric multiple unit 45 72.5 5 Island Line 1938
1989 - 1992

The route

Island Line, Isle of Wight

0m 00ch
Ryde Pier Head
for ferries to Portsmouth
Ryde Pier
0m 32ch
Ryde Esplanade
for hovercraft to Southsea
Tunnel under Ryde
396 yd
362 m
St. John's Road
1m 19ch Ryde St John's Road
Ryde depot
2m 15ch Smallbrook Junction
Isle of Wight Steam Railway
branch to Bembridge
4m 55ch Brading
Sandown Road
line to Newport and Cowes
Sandown sidings
6m 41ch Sandown
7m 27ch Lake
8m 28ch Shanklin
Wroxall(closed 1966)
Tunnel under St Boniface Down
Ventnor(closed 1966)

The railway operates to several stations:


  1. Hardy, Brian (2003). Tube Trains on the Isle of Wight. Harrow Weald, Middlesex: Capital Transport. p. 75. ISBN 1-85414-276-3.
  2. Companies House extract company no 3007942 Island Line Limited
  3. "Stagecoach wins railway franchise". BBC News Online. 22 September 2006. Retrieved 26 August 2007.
  4. "Island Line Online - Contact Us". Archived from the original on 23 July 2007. Retrieved 26 August 2007. Island Line is a brand name of Stagecoach South Western Trains Ltd.
  5. "Spruce up for Island Line stations". South West Trains. Retrieved 3 September 2007.
  6. "1938 tube stock on the Isle of Wight". Retrieved 13 March 2009.
  7. "Stagecoach Group welcomes South Western Rail Franchise win". South West Trains. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  8. "Island Line buys trains for £1". Solent TV. 28 March 2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  9. TheRailwayCentre.Com

External links

Preceded by
Network SouthEast
As part of British Rail
Operator of Island Line franchise
1996 - 2007
Succeeded by
South West Trains
South Western franchise
Preceded by
Island Line Trains
Island Line franchise
Sub-brand of South Western franchise
2007 - present
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/15/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.