Brading passing loop is the biggest problem on Island Line
I was interested to read that the South Western Railway (SWR) considers that it is not necessary to run a train every 60 minutes on the Island Line until next spring due to lack of demand.
I, and other interested parties, have communicated with SWR over the past year and consider the reason to be more involved than that.
I wrote about this in your post before, but I think there is a real problem with the overflow loop at Brading.
Under the old schedule, the journey time from Ryde Pier Head to Brading was 14 minutes, which was pretty tight and trains often ran a bit late in the summer, especially if a stop at Smallbrook Junction was needed.
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There was a seven minute delay at Pier Head, which meant a train took 35 minutes to go from Brading to Pier Head and back.
Brading Station is only a ten-minute ride from Shanklin, meaning the passing loop is far from halfway along the line.
SWR therefore had to reduce the time a train takes from Brading to Ryde Pier Head and return to 30 minutes so that two trains could perform a 30-minute service.
The original schedule achieved this goal by reducing run times in each direction by one minute and cutting the run time at Pier Head to just four minutes.
SWR confessed (to me) that it would be very tight and not very sturdy if the race was delayed.
So it seems that SWR lets one train settle in before introducing a second.
The problem will always be with the catamaran connections to Ryde.
The catamaran has an eight minute rotation and if the trains are only four minutes long, all connections will be extremely tight.
I calculate that six minutes between train / catamaran would be the best that could be achieved and put a delay in the formula and you envision a lot of missed connections, especially at peak times and during the summer months.
One answer might be to run three trains over a 30-minute or even 20-minute interval.
Even that wouldn’t use Brading’s passing loop but the old Ryde St John and Sandown loops. I really hope that something can be resolved as this road to Portsmouth harbor station has enormous potential.
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