The residents of the Isle of Wight bid farewell to their iconic trains yesterday (Jan 3rd), which are estimated to have travelled in excess of 3 million miles in their 82 years.
The final Class 483 train rolled out of the Ryde Pier Head Station last night, concluding a historic chapter for Island Line passengers and staff.
A major upgrade is set for spring with a new, fully refurbished fleet which will deliver a modern railway for the Isle of Wight.
One will be heading to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, meaning that islanders and visitors can still view the old red train, while another is set for the London Traction Transport Group. Formed in May 2020, the Group hopes to run the train on the Epping Ongar Railway under its own power.
South Western Railway’s Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: “Today we’re saying goodbye to a truly iconic train fleet which is held in great affection by people living on the Island and elsewhere.
“These trains had already been carrying passengers for half a century by the time they arrived on the Island in 1989, coincidentally the same year that I started my first job on the railway, but they have served our customers well, even if they have on occasion shown their age. This is in no small part thanks to the exceptional team at Ryde Depot, who have gone above and beyond to keep the trains running.
“While this may be an emotional end to one era, it’s also the start of an exciting new one. The £26 million being invested in new trains and major infrastructure upgrades will help to deliver a railway fit for 2021, with performance and customer experience both set to be transformed.”
Steve Backhouse, General Manager at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway said: “The Isle of Wight Steam Railway already has a world-class collection of carriages dating back to the opening of the Ryde to Shanklin line in 1864. The 1938 stock have been an iconic feature of the Isle of Wight for the last 30 years and we’re delighted that a unit will be preserved at Havenstreet so that it can be enjoyed by future generations.”
Daniel Nash, Secretary of the London Transport Traction Group, said: "80 years after delivery to London Transport, we’re excited to be bringing unit 483006 back to a former tube line at the Epping Ongar Railway. We hope that enthusiasts who have not been able to make it to the Island today due to the current restrictions will support us and help us to keep one of these trains running in preservation. Although they have finished on the Island Line, this will not be the last chance to ride on one of the trains."
Images: South Western Railway