The UK Department for Transport has announced a £26m investment to replace old trains operating on the Isle of Wight railway line.

The Island Line service linking Ryde and Shanklin uses trains that were built in 1938.

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As the Island Line has restrictions with regard to the size of units operating on it, the South Western Railway (SWR) has selected five trains of Class 484, which will be supplied by Vivarail.

These former London Underground trains will be refurbished to offer better capacity, accessibility, Wi-Fi and passenger information systems.

The two trains will also have connecting gangways to enable guards to move throughout the train to offer assistance and collect tickets.

The proposal was developed with important stakeholders of the island, including the Isle of Wight Council and Solent Local Enterprise Partnership. Furthermore, they will jointly contribute £1m for the construction of a new passing loop at Brading.

The department will provide investment to improve tracks and infrastructure to support the new trains.

UK Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “This investment in the Island Line means more punctual, reliable trains and better connections to ferry services, supporting local residents, businesses and tourism. This underlines our determination to provide passengers across the country with the modern rail network they expect.”

Vivarail CEO Adrian Shooter said: “It is a great privilege for Vivarail to be part of the wholesale upgrade of the Island Line. Vivarail will be building 3rd rail trains to make the best use of Island Line’s electrified track, this follows on from our diesel units for West Midlands Railway and battery/diesel trains for Transport for Wales, and is an example of how flexible the train is. I look forward to taking the first ride and enjoying the picturesque views of the Isle of Wight from the comfort of the new trains.”

The first trains are expected to undergo testing in the middle of next year and track improvements will commence at the end of 2020.