Ryde Pier is 143 years old, and needed a significant amount of heavy maintenance and renewal work to extend its life for a further sixty years.
However, various difficulties have pushed back the original completion estimate of spring, first to 10 June and now to 10 July.
The delays arose from two main factors:
- a three-month delay after storms damaged scaffolding and made it unsafe to work. Since April, at Ryde Pier Head, engineers have replaced track and steelwork and installed a new weather screen.
- a recent need for engineers to revise designs for one of the pier's six zones, changing components used to secure new rails and sleepers. The redesign, and the need to obtain new components, has added complexity to the project
SWR will increase the capacity of the minibus service during the Isle of Wight Festival.
Later in the year, Ryde Pier will need to close again for further work to complete the refurbishment project.
Alex Foulds, SWR's Projects and Change Director, said: “We know just how important the Island Line is to local businesses and the local community, which is why we aimed to reopen the line between Ryde Pier Head and Ryde Esplanade in time for the Isle of Wight Festival. We're sorry we haven't been able to meet that target.
“We always knew this would be a challenging project for a number of reasons. 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.”
Mark Killick, Network Rail's Wessex Route Director, said: “We're really disappointed and sorry that we will not be able to reopen the pier to allow trains to run for customers between Ryde Pier Head and Ryde Esplanade station this June.
“Unfortunately, due to several challenges the project has been delayed. We fully understand the important role the line plays in supporting local tourism and the economy, particularly during the busy summer holidays, and our main focus is continuing to work closely with SWR to ensure we reopen on Monday 10 July.”