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IoW light rail conversion proposed


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An interesting variation on an old idea.

 

http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/passenger/single-view/view/isle-of-wight-light-rail-conversion-proposed.html

 

This is particularly interesting: "One of the two tracks between Smallbrook Junction and Ryde St John’s would be transferred to the preserved Isle of Wight Steam Railway"

 

Cheers

David

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Tha Ansaldo T69s would need some serious re-engineering to be fit for purpose, they were built down to a price and I suspect some of the componentry wouldn't like the saline dowsing they would get on Ryde Pier. 

 

I'm also curious how the trams would get through the tunnel at Ryde - unless they are thinking of going on street to avoid the obstruction!

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No mention of the cost of converting to overhead power supply, I see. Or would it be possible to convert the trams to 3rd rail? This, and the possibility of hiving the line off to local control away from SWT, have been in the local news media for a while. Are there no withdrawn tube trains currently available?

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No mention of the cost of converting to overhead power supply, I see. Or would it be possible to convert the trams to 3rd rail? This, and the possibility of hiving the line off to local control away from SWT, have been in the local news media for a while. Are there no withdrawn tube trains currently available?

No - and because of delays to TfLs investment programme, there won't be any tube sized ones for a good few years yet. The Picadilly line is the next one to be upgraded so it's a case of tag on a small order of replacement vehicles (a la NSE with the Waterloo & City which got 1992 Central line trains) or wait for the exsisting Picadilly line trains to be released.

 

I allways thought an opportunity was missed when the original 1983 Juberlee stock was scrapped. While things like single leaf doors may not have been a good idea in London, that would not have been an issue on the IOW.

 

However to return to the thread title, conversation to a tramway, while not cheap, would put the line on a sound footing for the future equipment wise. Relying on ex London cast offs and an aging power supply (I believe the 3rd rail switchgear dates from the 1960s and was ordered at the same time as the Bournemouth kit) is basically perpetuating the same problems for future generations. The other advantage of a tram replacement is the potential for expansion - if desired Newport could be connected back to Ryde via Fishbourne ferry terminal and Newport connected to Cowes thus improving public transport on the island while avoiding most of the obstacles that have since sprung up on the closed trackbeds.

Edited by phil-b259
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No mention of the cost of converting to overhead power supply, I see. Or would it be possible to convert the trams to 3rd rail? This, and the possibility of hiving the line off to local control away from SWT, have been in the local news media for a while. Are there no withdrawn tube trains currently available?

There are probably plenty of second hand tramcars available from continental Europe that could be adapted. As for conversion to 3rd rail it should not be difficult to fit an underunning system such as used on the DLR. The earlier DLR cars were sold on to Germany where they are still operating having been equipped with pantographs and full control desks. If any DLR cars are due for replacement in the near future they would be highly suited for the Island Line and should be considered.

 

I'm also curious how the trams would get through the tunnel at Ryde - unless they are thinking of going on street to avoid the obstruction!

Birmingham are introducing dual mode overhead/battery trams for use in areas where OHLE is unacceptable. Battery operation could be used on the street section and on the pier itself.

Edited by PhilJ W
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Birmingham are introducing dual mode overhead/battery trams for use in areas where OHLE is unacceptable. Battery operation could be used on the street section and on the pier itself.

 

The Midland Metro CAFs were built with passive provision for some sort of battery supply as and when the emerging technology was proven, so in effect were designed to accommodate the power-packs.  Unfortunately the T69s were not, and given there were something like four different wiring diagrams between the 13 trams, retro fitting to the existing T69s as built would be at best difficult.  That said, I would expect they would re-engineer them to improve reliability before moving to the Isle of Wight, at which point they could as you say be equipped with battery boosters or supercapacitors. and avoid the need for overhead in pinch-points

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The Midland Metro CAFs were built with passive provision for some sort of battery supply as and when the emerging technology was proven, so in effect were designed to accommodate the power-packs.  Unfortunately the T69s were not, and given there were something like four different wiring diagrams between the 13 trams, retro fitting to the existing T69s as built would be at best difficult.  That said, I would expect they would re-engineer them to improve reliability before moving to the Isle of Wight, at which point they could as you say be equipped with battery boosters or supercapacitors. and avoid the need for overhead in pinch-points

Well that's the solution. Midland Metro sell their CAF's, with the most uncomfortable seats in the world that could only have been specifically designed to be uncomfortable by the work experience chap they had that day, and keep the T69, which at least had comfortable seats. Albeit they were a prime example of purchasing to price without regard to quality. 

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So how do you re-gauge a horse ? The R(egauging) S(ociety) for P(ractical) C(aptive) A(nimals) ?

 

On a more serious note, would any one want to ride on these trains/trams apart from tourists? Are they a viable economic proposition ?

 

Dennis

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Well that's the solution. Midland Metro sell their CAF's, with the most uncomfortable seats in the world that could only have been specifically designed to be uncomfortable by the work experience chap they had that day, and keep the T69, which at least had comfortable seats. Albeit they were a prime example of purchasing to price without regard to quality. 

 

I'm glad you found the seats better in the T69s, they were one of my successes during the design process!  Originally Ansaldo proposed using standard Italian catalogue "transit" seating which would have been very thinly upholstered but we pushed back and ended up with a custom design.  I'd done a fair bit of research with our consultants on things like rake of the back, thigh support, height and the like plus we wanted something that looked better than the standard plastic bench with a stuck on pad of moquette.  Any similarity between the shape of the seats in the T69 and the Cravens DMU or Midland Red S15 bus seat is purely intentional.  Whilst not perfect, they are infinitely better than what could have been used.

 

I've not been on the new trams yet but the photos I've seen show what look to be a standard catalogue "transit" seat which tend to be designed for ease of maintenance and production.

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With an average ticket price of *91p I think that prices need to rise in line with ticket prices on the mainland! Average ticket price of £4 would see profit of £400 000.

 

* 1.1 million passengers per year with an annual income of £1 million from site linked above.

 

Suzie x

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With an average ticket price of *91p I think that prices need to rise in line with ticket prices on the mainland! Average ticket price of £4 would see profit of £400 000.

 

* 1.1 million passengers per year with an annual income of £1 million from site linked above.

 

Suzie x

 

With a cheapest fare quoted on NRE of £1.20 for a single trip from Ryde Esplanade to St Johns, I suspect the income is indicative of how many journeys on Island line are for people using the ferry and then onward travel on the mainland, so Island Line only gets a small revenue share.   Putting prices up wouldn't solve the fundamental problem - the line doesn't go to many places islanders want to go - and higher prices might drive down already low usage numbers.  As stated above, light rail might help, by giving the possibility of extending to Newport and Cowes (which arguably should never have been closed in the first place, but there's no use crying over split milk.)

 

I use this line occasionally to visit my father on the island, but he never uses it, despite being a rail enthusiast all his life, because it doesn't go to Newport or Cowes.

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Would some of the dieselised A stock currently being engineered be suitable ?.

No 3rd rail or ohl and all freshly re-furbed. Just a thought....

JF

They are surface stock, more or less the same structure gauge as main line stock. Due to limited clearances the lot smaller tube stock is the only option.

Edited by PhilJ W
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So how do you re-gauge a horse ? The R(egauging) S(ociety) for P(ractical) C(aptive) A(nimals) ?

 

On a more serious note, would any one want to ride on these trains/trams apart from tourists? Are they a viable economic proposition ?

 

Dennis

No need. It is apparently well known that 4'8.5" originates from the width of a horse's arse. Though I dont recall the Douglas horse trams were narrower gauge in that respect!

 

Dava

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The late Fred "Kingdom" Ward and Tom Cadman proposed using ex Duwag trams on the island line about 20-odd years ago. The pair were well known with their connections with the Wight Locomotive Society, the failed Sadler-Vectrail project and various other island railway ideas, including re-opening the closed island lines using trams.

 

One problem with using continental trams is that the majority are single ended, and the pier structure wouldn't be strong enough or big enough to accommodate a turning circle at Pier Head. Similar problems at Shanklin!

 

The island line would certainly benefit from track modification to enable a 15 minute headway to run, whoever devised the current scheme obviously never uses public transport; it may have been the same chap who laid out the Spratt & Winkle, which had a similar headway but now benefits a 7 minute headway as the Croydon tramway.

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The island line would certainly benefit from track modification to enable a 15 minute headway to run, whoever devised the current scheme obviously never uses public transport; it may have been the same chap who laid out the Spratt & Winkle, which had a similar headway but now benefits a 7 minute headway as the Croydon tramway.

 

The passing loop at brading was removed in NSE days as part of a cost saving measure that also saw the abolition of Sandown box. Its removal meant that you either got a roughly 20minute interval service (with 3  trains passing at both Ryde & Sandown) or the current uneven 20 / 40 minute setup with 2 trains.

 

As with many rationalisations in the 80s and early 90s, the real cause was lack of funding from the Treasury forcing BR to make some very short sighted / daft decisions.

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I liked the idea that the Tube stock was introduced in preparation for the Portsmouth-Ryde trans-Solent tunnel project, linking IoW to the Southern commuter network!

 

Dava

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  • 5 months later...

The miss leading thing of trams is the civil engineering required. As with tran scheme which allways runs millions overbudget because of the lack of understanding of the stability a tram system needs. The Island cannot afford that kind of monetary mistake. Trams may be light rail but they need hard 100% fully engineered trackbeds as they cannot cope with the kind of misalignments experianced with Heavy Rail. Rowborough will allways continue to move and would never be stable enough for trams. Let alone overhead power lines requiring added infrastructure costs. Simple solution is to regauge the tunnel and Rink Road bridge ( or turn it into a L/C and make use of cascaded Diesel stock or modify it. A gauging test was carried out in the 2000's by SWT and its surprising what the results were. 141-3 Classes fit as do 150 and 170's although appatently SWT" could not justify placing such a highly technological unit the Island". lol

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When the Island Line Franchise began the Steam Railway proposed using a fleet of Thumpers but it was suggested by the CME that underframe Diesel Mechanical Units (Class 108 -121) would be better suited for maintenence costs as Thumpers required dedicated equipment.

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No - and because of delays to TfLs investment programme, there won't be any tube sized ones for a good few years yet. The Picadilly line is the next one to be upgraded so it's a case of tag on a small order of replacement vehicles (a la NSE with the Waterloo & City which got 1992 Central line trains) or wait for the exsisting Picadilly line trains to be released.

 

I allways thought an opportunity was missed when the original 1983 Juberlee stock was scrapped. While things like single leaf doors may not have been a good idea in London, that would not have been an issue on the IOW.

 

However to return to the thread title, conversation to a tramway, while not cheap, would put the line on a sound footing for the future equipment wise. Relying on ex London cast offs and an aging power supply (I believe the 3rd rail switchgear dates from the 1960s and was ordered at the same time as the Bournemouth kit) is basically perpetuating the same problems for future generations. The other advantage of a tram replacement is the potential for expansion - if desired Newport could be connected back to Ryde via Fishbourne ferry terminal and Newport connected to Cowes thus improving public transport on the island while avoiding most of the obstacles that have since sprung up on the closed trackbeds.

 

The 1973 stock currently on the Piccadilly line is too long for the island. The 1972 stock is feasible, but would require a lot of work because equipment is spread between driving motor and trailer cars.

 

Light rail would mean lighter infrastructure requirements, although the conversion to OLE would prove challenging in places.

 

Returning rail to Newport from Ryde is feasible, but access to Cowes is now nigh on impossible. Congestion and a lack of resilience in the road network has shown the rail closures of 1966 to have been spectacularly short-sighted. It is no accident that the island's two busiest bus routes parallel former rail alignments.

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Who would provide local control ,the council I hope not as they don't much of a track record perhaps Vectis buses could do it at least the whole transport system could be coordinated and provide a good all round offer.Trams would cost to much to build and run plus there is a resistance within the DFT for them and councils don't have spare cash for the planning and infrastructure.

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Isle of Wight Council doesn't have the capability to run the system and it is unlikely that Southern Vectis would be chosen, for a variety of reasons.

 

I'd agree that new build is off the agenda. As ever, cost will drive decision-making.

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