Government has unveiled a £26m investment package into the Isle of Wight railway line, to help modernise and improve the line and its outdated fleet.
The Island Line service, which runs between the communities of Ryde and Shanklin, currently utilises former London Underground trains built back in 1938.
Under the new government-funded plans, these trains will be replaced with more modern rolling stock – taking ownership of some modern Tube trains from London Underground’s District Line.
The investment scheme will also see a passing loop created at Brading, which will significantly increase service times. Trains will be able to run half-hourly to Ryde pier – allowing greater connections with ferry services to Portsmouth.
South Western Railway, who operate the line, said the first of the five two-car District Line trains was due to be tested on the line from early next summer, while track improvement works will begin the following winter.
The upgrade project is set to be paid for by the Department of Transport, with a £1m contribution towards the Brading passing loop coming jointly from Isle of Wight Council and Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.
Speaking about the announcement, Bob Seely MP said: “This is really great news for the island and long over-due.
“This represents the first significant upgrade to the route for over 50 years – since electrification in 1967.”