Island Line (Brand) - A
Island Line (Brand) - A
Island Line is a brand of the South Western Railway train operating company which runs the 8.5-mile (13.7 km) Island Line on the Isle of Wight. A stand-alone franchise from 1996 until 2007, it then became part of the South Western franchise operated by South West Trains until August 2017 and since by South Western Railway.
Island Line History
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.
The name Island Line first came into use in 1989, when Class 483 trains were introduced on the route, and this new brand name and a logo were included on the trains' livery. However, this re-branding did not officially occur until 1994, when it had completely replaced all RydeRail branding.
From 1989 until 1996, Island Line was a sub-brand of Network SouthEast. In 1996, services on the line were privatised as the Island Line franchise, with the winning bid from Stagecoach (legal name Island Line Limited). 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. Network Rail and its predecessors have continued to own the infrastructure, but lease this out to the operator who is therefore responsible for everyday maintenance of the track and immediate foundations.
While trains have never served Ventnor at any time since the Island Line brand was brought in, several attempts have been made to encourage use of the train to reach the former terminus. A dedicated rail-link feeder bus was introduced in 2004, operating on a direct route between Shanklin and Ventnor, but this was withdrawn in September 2010 after decisions by the Isle of Wight Council about the funding of Wightbus. However, connections and through ticketing have since been provided on the regular bus service, which was slightly diverted to serve the main station entrance. These arrangements continue to be advertised in the rail timetable.
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 Trains franchise to form the new South Western franchise in an effort to reduce the number of train operating companies.
Although South West Trains operated the line thereafter, the Island Line branding was retained. Island Line Trains repainted all their stations in a heritage cream and green colour scheme, as part of a general station improvement package.
Island Line Operations under South Western Railway
In March 2017, the DfT awarded the franchise to a FirstGroup / MTR consortium with South Western Railway, which includes the Island Line, commencing on 20 August 2017. It will run until at least August 2024 with an option for the DfT to extend for a further year.
South Western Railway will be working with the local council and bodies with regards to replacing the rolling stock, upgrading the infrastructure and adding an additional passing loop to introduce a 30-minute service to improve connection times with the Ryde to Portsmouth ferry service and the hovercraft.
These expected changes were received favourably by the Keep Island Line in Franchise (KILF) group, who have been campaigning for improvements to the line for several years.
Island Line (Brand) Overview
Island Line Franchise(s): Island Line
13 October 1996 – 3 February 2007
Part of South Western franchise
4 February 2007 – present
Island Line Main Area(s): Isle of Wight
Island Line Fleet Size: 5
Island Line Stations Called at: 8
Island Line Parent Company: South Western Railway
Island Line Reporting Mark: IL
Island Line, Isle of Wight Legend Map
ferries to Portsmouth
0-0 Ryde Pier Head
0-32 Ryde Esplanade
Hovercraft to Southsea
tunnel under Ryde 396 yd 362 m
B3330 St John's Road
1-19 Ryde St John's Road
2-17 Smallbrook Junction
Isle of Wight Steam Railway
to Havenstreet & Wootton
to Newport and Cowes
St Boniface Down
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