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Friday, September 22, 2023

Line between Isle of Wight’s Ryde Pier Head and Ryde Esplanade reopens

Today marks the reopening of Ryde Pier Head station which has been closed to Island Line services since October 2022, providing a timely boost for tourism and the local economy during the Island’s busy summer holiday season.

Over the past nine months, engineers have braved the elements and worked around the clock to strengthen the 143-year-old, 686-metre-long Victorian pier and return the steel structure to its former glory.

As part of this work, engineers have installed a new weather screen to protect customers while they wait at Ryde Pier Head station, replaced 172 metres of track, and installed 143 metres of new steel rail bearers, as well giving the station a new lick of paint.

There is still some further work to do including upgrading the final part of the track using composite sleepers instead of wood, which are more resilient to the extreme weather and will keep customers moving for many years to come.

Network Rail and SWR are working closely together to identify the least disruptive date to close the pier again and will announce this to customers as soon as the dates are confirmed.

Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex route director, said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to Island Line customers and local residents for their patience while these important restoration works have been carried out at the historic Ryde Pier to give it a new lease of life.

“I’m really sorry for the delays the project has faced, it’s been a huge task for our teams who have encountered several challenges including the winter storms and high tides, which meant the work took longer than planned.

“I understand the importance of reopening in time for the summer holidays and the positive impact tourism has on the local economy, so I’m excited to be welcoming customers back.

“We are continuing to work closely with our colleagues at SWR to identify the best time to complete the follow up works in a way that causes the least disruption to our customers. Once we have ironed out the finer details, we will update customers with further information so they can plan ahead.”

Mark Dunn, general manager for South Western Railway’s Island Line, added: “We’re pleased to see Ryde Pier open in time for the busy summer holiday season, which is so important to the people and local businesses on the Island.

“It was fantastic to see trains running on the pier last week when our colleagues completed their familiarisation training, and we’re pleased those trains are now carrying customers once again.

“We’d like to thank our customers for their continued patience as we, and our colleagues at Network Rail, progress this complex programme of maintenance and repairs.”

Image credit: Network Rail

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