A £26m project to overhaul the Isle of Wight railway line will be completed at least four months late. With plans for upgrades and importing refurbished trains and further improvements to track and platforms, its operator South Western Railway have said "complex software issues" are to blame for the delays.
The overall upgrades are to include a new passing loop at Brading to allow trains to run half-hourly to Ryde pier and connect with Portsmouth ferry services. Additionally, existing trains some of which date back to 1938 are to be replaced with five refurbished London Underground trains from the District Line.
The upgrades will be paid for by the Department of Transport, with £1m for the passing loop coming jointly from Isle of Wight Council and Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.
Adrian Shooter, CEO, of rolling stock manufacturer Vivarail which is set to deliver all the trains and are responsible for the process off refurbishing the islands 8.5-mile line said: "As a company we take full responsibility and offer our apologies to the passengers and staff of the Island Line”
"It would be easy to hide behind Covid and point the finger at the pandemic, but we had in fact managed to claw back a lot of that lost time and brought the build back on schedule and all trains have now left our factory”
"However, we have unforeseen difficulties with the software”
Alex Foulds, major projects director at SWR, said: "We are as disappointed as our customers by this delay.
"Our infrastructure works are largely on track, but there is a delay to the delivery of the trains and we apologise for the impact that will have on our customers and the communities we serve.
"We continue to work incredibly hard in partnership with our train supplier Vivarail to reopen a safe, reliable and fully upgraded Island Line as soon as possible."