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Completion of Isle of Wight railway line overhaul delayed by four months

28 Apr 2021 (Last Updated April 28th, 2021 14:42)

The UK's South Western Railway (SWR) has announced that the completion of the £26m project to overhaul the Isle of Wight railway track will be delayed by at least four months.

The UK’s South Western Railway (SWR) has announced that the completion of the £26m project to overhaul the Isle of Wight railway track will be delayed by at least four months.

Earlier this year, the track and platform upgrade works commenced between Ryde Esplanade and Shanklin. The works were expected to be completed in three months.

The reopening of the line has been delayed due to challenges in the delivery of the new fleet of class 484 trains by rolling stock manufacturer Vivarail.

Owing to complex software issues, Vivarail, which is executing the refurbishment work on the 40-year-old rolling stock, has not been able to supply the fully renovated trains.

Having only received one of the five refurbished class 484 trains so far, SWR stated that the reopening of the Island Line has been pushed to later this year.

Major infrastructure works such as a new loop at Brading and platform modifications to handle larger trains have currently been completed.

Vivarail CEO Adrian Shooter said: “I must tell you that, regrettably, there will be a delay in delivery of our trains for the Island Line. Whilst we were able to deliver the first train to the Isle of Wight several months ago, the rest of the fleet is still at Eastleigh for mainline testing before delivery.

“However, we have unforeseen difficulties with the software. Our priority is to deliver safe and reliable trains, so I have instructed my team to undertake a thorough review rather than try to ‘patch’ the software.”

In a separate development, train operating company Greater Anglia has decided to reuse and recycle its old trains’ components that are being sent for scrap.