Isle of Wight

Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

Isle of Wight

Postby george matthews » Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:59 am

I visited the Isle of Wight on Saturday - the first time for several years. I travelled on the train from Poole to Lymington pier. These trains were on time and quite satisfactory. The ferry to Yarmouth was also uneventful. I took a bus across the northern part of the Island from Yarmouth to Ryde, via Newport. Once I could have taken the train - in the 1950s when it was steam - but most of the lines have long been closed. As far as I can see most of the trackbeds are still available and Yarmouth station is almost complete - it is a cafe now. Probably there are no surviving trackbeds in Newport, the County Town. But I did see one of the two remaining lines, in Ryde. My impression was that the service is decaying. The former London Underground tube trains are still running but the ones I saw don't look to be in very good condition. The stations however have been cut to the bone. No-one was selling tickets. There was a ticket machine but it doesn't work very easily and the station in general looked uncared for, in need of painting and smartening up. I am not sure whether there were any employees at all. I do wonder whether the service will continue. There has been a new franchisee recently. I took a train from Ryde Town to the end of the pier to take the ferry across to Portsmouth.

It's the end of the holiday season so it's not surprising there were so few riders on the train, but the overall impression was not of a flourishing service.

All the stations in the area on the mainland also seem very run down and most had no-one to sell tickets by the early evening. There were ticket machines but the new franchisees seem to have altered the machines to make it very difficult to buy OAP concession tickets, and other non-standard reduced fares. I was lucky in getting help from a nearby ticket collector in Southampton, but there was no help in the Marine Portsmouth station. The franchisees are saving on wages by not staffing the stations at weekends and they gain from not selling reduced fares. I decided to take the bus from Portsmouth to Southampton using my OAP concession ticket - no fare to pay - but the journey took at least twice as long as the train would have been.

The South Western Railway (new franchisee) train was very late from London because of the work being done at Waterloo, which has disrupted smooth running there. That didn't matter to me as I only wanted to travel from Southampton to Poole and didn't care when the train arrived at Southampton.

I did not feel very encouraged by the new franchisees who I suspect are going to have to reduce standards to make up for what they have agreed to pay the government.
george matthews
 
Posts: 4535
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 9:07 am
Location: Britain

Re: Isle of Wight

Postby David Benton » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:31 am

sounds like the trains haven't been replaced since my visit in the 1990's. they were pretty old then. i enjoyed hiking on the isle of wight , i would think too many cars would spoil it . perhaps some narrow gauge tourist trains would work ,
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.
User avatar
David Benton
 
Posts: 7804
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Isle of Wight

Postby David Benton » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:40 am

could you not buy tickets in advance off the internet , George ?. I think thats pretty much what they expect everyone to do nowdays ,
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.
User avatar
David Benton
 
Posts: 7804
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Isle of Wight

Postby george matthews » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:05 am

David Benton wrote:could you not buy tickets in advance off the internet , George ?. I think thats pretty much what they expect everyone to do nowdays ,

I decided to go on the spur of the moment - the weather seemed not too bad. I think If I try any more trips I must assume that buying tickets is no longer easy and must use the Internet. But my observation is that the privatised railway is doing what many of us predicted - deteriorating.

The actual physical railway on the Isle of Wight is certainly deteriorating. It seems to me the trains will wear out and I wonder about the state of the track. I am not sure whether the track is still maintained by Network Rail or whether the franchisee has taken it on. If the latter I would not be surprised to see it become unsafe.
george matthews
 
Posts: 4535
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 9:07 am
Location: Britain

Re: Isle of Wight

Postby johnthefireman » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:33 pm

george matthews wrote:If the latter I would not be surprised to see it become unsafe.


Well, it would be a surprise to me because there are rail regulatory bodies who are supposed to ensure that it doesn't become unsafe, after the Railtrack fiasco a few years ago which led to a number of serious accidents.
User avatar
johnthefireman
 
Posts: 1158
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:09 pm
Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Re: Isle of Wight

Postby george matthews » Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:22 am

johnthefireman wrote:
george matthews wrote:If the latter I would not be surprised to see it become unsafe.


Well, it would be a surprise to me because there are rail regulatory bodies who are supposed to ensure that it doesn't become unsafe, after the Railtrack fiasco a few years ago which led to a number of serious accidents.

There's an air of decay about the station in Ryde Town. It looks dirty, unpainted and uncared for. Maybe the underlying quality is better than it looks. But I don't like the look of it. The same is true of the station at Ryde Pier.

I didn't have time to take the train to Shanklin.
george matthews
 
Posts: 4535
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 9:07 am
Location: Britain

Re: Isle of Wight

Postby johnthefireman » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:58 am

From a safety point of view, the looks are not the most important thing - it's the operational equipment and culture which is important. Having said that, IOW is a very low-speed low-density network, so the operational and maintenance standards will be set lower than for a 125 mph main line.

Decaying, dirty, unpainted and uncared for stations do not, however, do much for passenger satisfaction.
User avatar
johnthefireman
 
Posts: 1158
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:09 pm
Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Re: Isle of Wight

Postby george matthews » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:31 am

johnthefireman wrote:From a safety point of view, the looks are not the most important thing - it's the operational equipment and culture which is important. Having said that, IOW is a very low-speed low-density network, so the operational and maintenance standards will be set lower than for a 125 mph main line.

Decaying, dirty, unpainted and uncared for stations do not, however, do much for passenger satisfaction.

My impression is that the new franchisees are concentrating on reducing costs by leaving the stations unstaffed. The same may be true of the mainland where again the stations seem to be almost completely unstaffed - at least on a Saturday afternoon and evening. I haven't done much travelling recently so the situation was new to me. The removal of low cost ticket sales from the ticket machines is especially annoying. I would hope the Labour Party might feature it in their campaigns. Of course the situation may be a holdover from the previous franchisees. Perhaps the new operators may improve matters. Some paint and cleaning would be a good idea on the IoW. But I don't have a lot of hope. And on the mainland I suspect that the removal of reduced fares is a new development by the new operators. If so, we can expect more deterioration.
george matthews
 
Posts: 4535
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 9:07 am
Location: Britain


Return to Worldwide Railfan

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest