A line closure will be in place between Ryde Esplanade and Ryde Pier Head from Sunday the 30th of October with its reopening set to take place in Spring 2023. Network Rail teams will undertake essential maintenance and improvement work including strengthening the pier which will extend its life by as much as 60 years. South Western Railway will also take advantage of the line closure by carrying out work at the same time.
Victorian engineers built the pier between 1878 and 1880 and after almost 150 years of harsh environmental conditions have seen the structure deteriorated and now requires vital refurbishment and repairs.
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.”
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.”
South Western Railway will be running a shuttle bus service between Ryde Pier Head and Ryde Esplanade whilst the work is taking place, further details will be given in the coming weeks.
The pier measures 686 metres in length and is sectioned into six ‘zones' each of which was built using different methods of construction. Over the past 60 years, the pier has also seen major and emergency repairs carried out including strengthening in 1962 which saw it re-decked and new steelwork and in 2012 and 2013 emergency repairs were undertaken to extend its life but with further work required. Due to the differing methods of repair used on the pier over the years, engineers will have to use an array of approaches to complete the project, including, partial replacements and full refurbishments of the metal and timber structure.