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2001-09-28 SRA-001
Strategic Rail Authority

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Rail Authority publishes strategic options for Isle of Wight services


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Strategic Rail Authority

Rail Authority publishes strategic options for Isle of Wight services
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date
28 September 2001
source Strategic Rail Authority
type Press release



The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) today published a new report setting out
future options for rail services on the Isle of Wight, and initiated a consultation
on its findings.

The report, prepared for the SRA by Gibb Transport Consulting, is published
in Summary form and outlines the range of choices available for providing rail
services on the Island in the decades to come. It sets out in detail the current
state of the tracks and trains, and examines the feasibility, costs and benefits
of a number of options for maintaining or enhancing services on the Island
Line.

The report establishes that, whilst the existing train fleet could continue in
service for another decade, repairs could become costly and options should
be considered for investing in more modern rolling stock. Acquiring newer
trains from London Underground Ltd. (LUL) is established as potentially a
suitable and cost-effective solution. The introduction of new light rail vehicles
or diesel trains is identified as a higher cost option.

The report recommends that the SRA considers:

Discussion with LUL on buying newer Underground trains for the Island
Stepping up renewal of the tracks over the long term
Ways of progressing potential improvements to service frequencies
identified in the study
A forthcoming study into possible route extensions commissioned by
Isle of Wight Council

The SRA has asked the Rail Passenger Committee for Southern England to
lead consultation on the report with passengers on the Island and the
mainland. It is beginning that process with immediate effect, and has asked
for comments by 30 November. The SRA will separately discuss the report
with the Isle of Wight Council and with the Department fo r Transport, Local
Government and the Regions (DTLR).

Chris Austin, Executive Director of External Relations for the SRA, said:
"The SRA commends this report, which establishes the facts that will inform
our decisions on how to develop the Island Line in the years to come. We are
required to refranchise the Island Line by September 2003, and we must
define in good time what we expect to achieve from the new franchise
agreement.

"In reaching this decision we will be discussing today's report with passenger
groups and other stakeholders on the Island and elsewhere. While putting the
interests of passengers foremost, we must recognise that our plans must
represent value for money, as well as being affordable and achievable."

Notes to Editors
1. The Island Line runs from Shanklin to Ryde Pier Head, linking in with ferry
services to the Island from Portsmouth. The current franchise, held by
Stagecoach Holdings plc since October 1996, expires on 27 September 2003,
having been extended by 2 years from its original term of 5 years.

2. The line is Britain's best performing railway, achieving 97.2% of trains on
time in the year to March 2001, and 91% of passengers satisfied with their
journey in the SRA's National Passenger Survey 2001. It is also Britain's
smallest line, operating on 8.5 miles of track and carrying 800,000 passengers
each year.

3. Stagecoach Holdings plc received public subsidy of £2.0 million from the
SRA to operate the line during 2000/2001. At 54.1 pence, this is the highest
subsidy per passenger mile of the UK's 25 rail franchises


Railhub Archive ::: 2001-09-28 SRA-001





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