Train on Ryde Pier, via Istock

Ryde Pier maintenance work seeks to preserve historic infrastructure

Ryde Pier will see maintenance works being conducted through a partnership between Network Rail and South Western Railway, aiming to strengthen the pier to ensure its life can be extended for up to 60 years, supplying key transport for the people of the Isle of Wight long into the future.

This project will see a forced line closure between Ryde Esplanade and Ryde Pier Head, commencing on Sunday 30 October and ending in Spring 2023. This closure will affect peoples travel in the local area, with SWR operating a shuttle bus service between Ryde Pier Head and Ryde Esplanade throughout the period.

Claire Mann, SWR’s Managing Director, said:

 “During our improvement programme in 2021, which allowed us to introduce the first new trains on the Island Line for more than 30 years, engineers surveyed Ryde Pier and discovered major work was needed to continue to run trains.

“We’ve worked closely with Network Rail to ensure the repairs needed can be carried out whilst causing the least amount of disruption possible, as we know this is an important link from the Island to ferry services bound for the mainland.

“We’re sorry for the inconvenience that this closure will cause, however we are making the most of the opportunity available to us by carrying out work that will give our customers smoother and more reliable journeys.”

The pier has seen major structural degradation throughout its lifetime as it has seen almost 150 years of harsh weather erosion since its inception in 1880 by Victorian engineers. Throughout its lifetime, the pier has undergone strengthening works to the superstructure in 1962 which saw re-decking with new steelwork, with various further repairs coming in recent years such as emergency maintenance in 2012 and 2013.

Due to the consistent repair works on various sections on the 686-metre-long pier, it means that there are several different forms of construction scattered across the infrastructure. This creates problems for the engineering teams as they will be forced to use a variety of different methods to strengthen the pier, seeing both partial replacements and full refurbishments of the metal and timber structure.

Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex Route Director, said:

“We’re pleased to finally start work on Ryde Pier, which after 142 years of service needs a lot of maintenance to support SWR’s Island Line services going forward.

“Planning this work has been very challenging as we’ve had to work around other improvements to the Island Line whilst trying to understand the condition of the structure. Our engineers now have a very complex programme of work to deliver, made more difficult by the pier’s different construction methods and the seasons they’ll be working in.

“Our aim is to have everything finished in the Spring of next year and we’re grateful to customers for their patience during what we know will be a disruptive closure.”

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