South Western Railway

SWR’s Island Line upgrades awarded strong sustainability rating

South Western Railway’s (SWR) £26m Island Line upgrade has successfully boosted sustainability and biodiversity on the Isle of Wight, where it operates between Ryde Pier Head and Shanklin. The sustainable rail infrastructure has now been awarded a top environmental rating from CEEQUAL.

CEEQUAL acts as a world leading sustainability assessment and rating scheme with the ambition to create sustainable infrastructure projects. The Island Line scheme has received a ‘Good’ rating from CEEQUAL, highlighting the sustainable developments that have been implemented to reduce carbon consumption and meet the Governments net-zero ambitions. This achievement marks the first time that a SWR project has completed one of these assessments.

The key sustainability successes that have come from this infrastructure project include; installation of platform overlays at six stations to reduce waste, by avoiding unnecessary demolition of existing platforms. Excavated ballast and coper stones were also reused where possible, along with FSC certified timber products. These achievements were made possible through engagement with Natural England and the Isle of Wight Council, to ensure the project achieved no net biodiversity loss. The desire to incorporate stakeholder engagement and local partnership links within the project shows the care and attention that SWR gave to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve island’s environmental sustainability.

Amy Dickinson, SWR’s Head of Sustainability, said

“We are absolutely delighted that SWR’s ongoing commitment to sustainability has been recognised in this way. The Island Line Upgrade was the first SWR project to be assessed by CEEQUAL and the ‘Good’ assessment demonstrates that environmental sustainability was at the forefront of the project throughout.”

The infrastructural upgrades, that were completed last year, have drastically improved the service that SWR can provide to island commuters and visitors, by transforming the existing lines and stations across the railway. If the UK rail sector is to achieve the ambitions of net-zero by 2050, then other operators should look to adopt the successful ideas implemented within this project where possible.

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