SWR and Network Rail to reopen 143-year-old pier to trains

South Western Railway and Network Rail have confirmed that Ryde Pier will reopen to trains after a large programme of renewal work to give it further life.

two island line trains

Credit: SWR

South Western Railway (SWR) and Network Rail have confirmed that Ryde Pier will reopen to trains on 10 July 2023. The 143-year-old pier, which is undergoing a large programme of heavy maintenance and renewal to give it a further 60 years of life, was due to re-open to Island Line services in June.

Engineers have worked hard to recover from a three-month delay due to extreme weather where storms damaged scaffolding and made it unsafe to work. Since April, at Ryde Pier Head, track and steelwork replacements have been completed and a new weather screen has been installed. However, in recent weeks, engineers have been forced to revise their designs in one of the pier’s six different zones, changing the components used to secure new rails and sleepers.

The redesign, and the sourcing and supply of new components at a critical point in the programme, has added complexity to an already challenging project. As a result, the reopening date has been moved to 10 July.

“We always knew this would be a challenging project for a number of reasons,” Alex Foulds, SWR’s Projects and Change Director, said. “This is the world’s second longest pier and it was designed and constructed in the Victorian era, using five different designs. Our focus now is to ensure that the pier is ready for the school holidays and to resume train services along the length of the Island Line as soon as possible.”

“Unfortunately, due to several challenges the project has been delayed,” Mark Killick, Network Rail’s Wessex Route Director, said. “We fully understand the important role the line plays in supporting local tourism and the economy, p, and our main focus is continuing to work closely with SWR to ensure we reopen on 10 July.”

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