LETTERS From Gary Ranson, Ryde:
I BELIEVE this is the second time (CP, 08-06-12) an article regarding trams has appeared this year.
It alarms me how people think trams are cheaper than full-gauge rail-born vehicles.
It also alarms me how misinformed Roger Beresford/Tranzwight are. I work in the rail industry on the operations side so I am experienced and qualified to make comments.
Firstly, trams cannot run over the current network. There was a blunder made in 1966, when the 1927 London Underground stock was imported to the Island, and the wheel flanges wore out quite quickly. This was due to the fact London Transport track gauge is half an inch different.
It is also a mistake to refer the current system as heavy rail. The IW railways are built to, and operated under, the Light Railways Act. That is why there is a limit of 45mph.
How Tranzwight propose to install a robust overhead power supply is beyond me? If they are suggesting removing the current third-rail system, then are they aware of the greater safety risks?
When operating over distance and from town to town, using old rail lines, are they confident that trams will be robust enough not to de-rail or resist the impact of debris rail-born transport operators have to deal with on a daily basis
If travelling from Ryde to Newport, as I would imagine the plan proposes, how do you operate overhead line equipment over the Steam Railway. This means there are two types of operation. How is that cost viable?
Does Tranzwight think the investment in modern stock is available? Where is the money going to come from? From high extortionate ticket rates, just like the buses? How is that an alternative?
IslandLine may have ageing stock but it is reliable. The only reason it has not been replaced is that there is no alternative at the moment.
For years, there have been suggestions about ripping up the current line and putting in a guided bus way or tram. That is not cost effective.
If Tranzwight really want to solve the transport problem, then leave it to the professionals, leave it to the railways.
The biggest obstruction on this Island has always been the council, which is so short sighted and let our railways slip into oblivion in the first place by not monitoring the government officials recording passenger numbers at off-peak times instead of peak times.
If they had we would still have Cowes to Newport.