IT’S the end of the line for the Island’s Dotto trains.
The service is to be scrapped next year because of the age of the trains, which has led to increased maintenance costs and breakdowns in recent seasons, the Isle of Wight Council has said.
"We looked at the cost of buying new or refurbished trains but, at more than £100,000 per vehicle, this was not financially viable," said Matthew Chatfield, the council’s parks and countryside manager. He pointed out the oldest of the three vehicles was nearly 30 years old.
But for fans of the Dotto trains, there is good news on the horizon.
Southern Vectis, which is contracted by the council to run the trains, may introduce a new, themed service to the Dotto routes next year. Discussions between the company and the local authority are ongoing but it is possible Southern Vectis may bring in an old-style charabanc service.
"We are quite keen to replace the service with something else, probably something bus-based, but we have not made any decisions yet. It’s very early days," said Southern Vectis operations manager Marc Morgan Huws.
"It’s a useful form of transport along the seafront and we believe there is a viable opportunity there."
This summer is the last chance Islanders and visitors will be able to ride the Dotto trains before they are retired.
The Shanklin and Ryde routes will run between May and September as usual but, to ensure there is a spare vehicle to keep the service running reliably, the Sandown route has already been withdrawn.
The council was planning to scrap all three routes this year but Southern Vectis stepped in to carry out and pay for the maintenance work.