Island Line, Isle of Wight

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Island line logo.gif
Franchise(s): Island Line
2003-February 2007
South Western
Main area(s): Isle of Wight
Other area(s): None
Fleet size: 7 (6 operated)
Stations: 8
Parent company: Stagecoach Group
Web site:

Island Line was the smallest of the Train Operating Companies that make up Britain’s National Rail network. The franchise was operated separately by the Stagecoach Group. It is the only passenger franchise that includes maintenance of the infrastructure in addition to the running of passenger services. Since February 2007, it has been operated as part of the integrated South Western franchise alongside South West Trains.

Island Line is reportedly Britain’s most reliable and punctual train company. The shortness and simplicity of the route may be the reason for this.

The UK's Department for Transport recently designated the Line a 'Community Rail Line' under recent reforms to help boost use of rural and branch lines in the UK rail network.

Line and trains

Island Line operate a single railway line on the Isle of Wight, running some 8½ miles from Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin down the eastern side of the island. The line was electrified (750 V DC third rail) in 1967[1]. Trains connect with passenger ferries to Portsmouth Harbour at Ryde Pier Head, and these ferries in turn connect with the rest of the National Rail network. The line also connects to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, a steam operated heritage railway at Smallbrook Junction. Because of tight clearances within a tunnel at Ryde, standard National Rail vehicle types cannot operate on the Island Line. Currently, the 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. Following its successful bid for the new integrated franchise, Stagecoach announced that it had no plans to replace the current rolling stock, instead investing "to ensure the continued viability of the existing Island Line rolling stock and infrastructure" [1]. By 2016, when the new franchise is due to end, the rolling stock on the Isle of Wight will be almost 80 years old.

Island Line
Stations (from north to south)

Ryde Pier Head
Ryde Esplanade
Ryde St John's Road
Smallbrook Junction
for Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Island Line Route

  Smallbrook Junction (interchange only - no access other than by rail)

In the mid-1990s it was planned to reopen the line south of Shanklin, to the original terminus at Ventnor. However, this now seems unlikely to happen, due in part to the high costs involved.


  1. Electric Railways. 'Stendec Systems' (2007). Retrieved on 2007-02-01.

See also

Template:Start box |- style="text-align: center;" |- style="text-align:center;" |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"|Preceded by
Network SouthEast
As part of British Rail |width="40%" style="text-align: center;" rowspan="1"|Operator of Island Line franchise
1996-2007 |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"| Succeeded by
South West Trains
South Western franchise
|- |}

Domestic: Arriva Trains Wales - c2c - Central Trains - Chiltern Railways - First Capital Connect
First Great Western - First ScotRail - Grand Central1 - GNER - Heathrow Connect
Hull Trains - Island Line2 - Merseyrail - Midland Mainline - Northern Rail
Northern Ireland Railways3 - 'one' - Silverlink - Southeastern - Southern
South West Trains - TransPennine Express - Virgin Trains
International: Enterprise3 - Eurostar
Airport Link: Gatwick Express - Heathrow Express - Stansted Express4
Sleeper: Caledonian Sleeper5 - Night Riviera6
1 Starts 20 May 2007 - 2 Operated by South West Trains - 3 Operated on the Irish railway network
4 Operated by 'one' - 5 Operated by First ScotRail - 6 Operated by First Great Western

Future passenger train operators in Great Britain
New Franchises: Cross Country1 - East Midlands1 - InterCity East Coast - London Overground1
West Midlands1
Proposed open-access
Grand Union2 - Wrexham & Shropshire3
1 Starts November 2007 - 2 Proposed - 3 Awaiting Approval

Railway lines in South-East England:
Main lines:   Arun Valley Line   Ashford via Maidstone East Line   Ashford-Ramsgate via Canterbury Line   Brighton Main Line   Chatham Main Line   East Coastway   Hastings Line   Channel Tunnel Rail Link   Kent Coast Line   London–Ashford–Dover Line   North Downs Line   Portsmouth Direct Line   South Western Main Line   Thameslink   West Coastway   West of England Main Line
Commuter lines:   Alton Line   Ascot-Guildford Line   Bexleyheath Line   Caterham Line   Catford Loop   Chessington Branch   Dartford Loop   Eastleigh-Fareham Line   Eastleigh-Romsey Line   Greenwich Line   Hayes Line   Hounslow Loop   Mid-Kent Line   New Guildford Line   North Kent Line   Oxted Line   Sheerness Line   Slough-Windsor & Eton Line   South London Line   Staines-Windsor & Eton Line   Staines to Weybridge Line   Sutton Mole Valley Line   Tattenham Corner Line   Waterloo-Reading Line   West London Line
Rural lines:   Brockenhurst-Lymington Line   Henley Branch Line   Island Line   Marlow Branch Line   Marshlink Line   Medway Valley Line   Redhill-Tonbridge Line

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