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LEP Backing Investment in Island Rail Infrastructure

16 September 2019

The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), have today welcomed Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris announcement of £26m investment from the Department for Transport into the Island Line.

Originally identified by the Solent LEP for investment in 2018 as part of the LEPs Island Infrastructure Investment Plan, the funding represents a major boost to connectivity on the Island.

The Solent LEP have played a pivotal role in unlocking this investment, which follows work in partnership with South Western Railway to secure Local Growth Deal funding through the Solent Growth Deal.

The LEP and South Western Railway are currently working in partnership to unlock additional funding for the Island Line to create a new passing loop at Brading Station.

This new infrastructure planned for Brading Station will enable the operation of a more regular service on the line, resulting in simpler timetables and services better aligned with other public transport options, making rail a more attractive and sustainable travel option for residents and visitors alike.

Gary Jeffries, Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Chairman said:

"Securing a renaissance of our coastal communities is an absolute priority for the Solent LEP as we strive to raise productivity levels and spread prosperity across the Solent. Our work with South Western Railway has been critical to unlocking the significant central government investment announced today, which will both safeguard and transform connectivity on the Island, as well as supporting the coastal communities to the east coast of the Island. We welcome this strong endorsement of the Island economy from Government and look forward to continuing our work with South Western Railway to secure additional investment into the Island Line in the coming months."

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said:

“These trains have diligently served passengers since 1938 – coinciding with the first ever edition of the Beano and the maiden voyage of the record-setting Mallard steam train - so this upgrade is a long overdue boost.

“This investment in the Island Line means more punctual, reliable trains and better connections to ferry services, supporting local residents, businesses and tourism. This underlines our determination to provide passengers across the country with the modern rail network they expect.”