Ryde Pier Head railway station is one of three stations in the town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight. Situated at the end of the town's pier, it is adjacent to the terminal for the Wightlink fast catamaran service connecting the island with Portsmouth on the English mainland. Passengers can use this to connect with the rest of the National Rail network at Portsmouth Harbour station, which is adjacent to the Portsmouth terminal. Through rail tickets for travel via Pier Head station are available to and from other stations on the Isle of Wight. These include travel on the catamaran service to or from Portsmouth as appropriate.
|Location||Ryde, Isle of Wight|
|Managed by||Island Line|
|Classification||DfT category E|
|Opened||12 July 1880|
|Original company||Portsmouth and Ryde Joint Railway|
|Pre-grouping||Portsmouth and Ryde Joint Railway|
|1 January 1967||Closed for electrification|
|20 March 1967||Reopened|
|3 January 2021||Closed for upgrade works|
|1 November 2021||Reopened|
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road
Trains run down the eastern coast of the Isle of Wight to Shanklin (the Island Line), the last remnant of a network of railways on the island. Because of the restricted loading gauge, particularly through the tunnel under Ryde, services are operated by former London Underground stock.
In 1880 the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) and London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) agreed to open a jointly-owned line north from Ryde St John's Road. Under the direction of LBSCR Chief Engineer Frederick Banister, the construction of the extension included a new tunnel and a third Ryde Pier to enable the line to reach a new station at Ryde Pier Head, which provided a connection with the companies' ferry services.
When the LBSC/LSWR joint line opened, it was as a double track section from Ryde St John's Road station through to Ryde Pier Head. There was a scissors crossover situated on Ryde Pier to allow trains to access all platforms. Sets of crossovers were installed at St John's Road to enable trains to change from the joint line's left-hand running to the single-track sections on the Isle of Wight Central Railway's Newport line and the Isle of Wight Railway's Shanklin line (now known as the Island Line).
The station originally consisted of three platforms in the form of a pair of islands; a fourth track was added later, opening in 1933. The station was rebuilt on electrification of the remaining line in 1967, and the new layout consisted of two tracks with three platform faces. One of these tracks is now out of use, so only one platform currently operates. This is the track which runs along the western side of the pier; a double track section commences immediately to the south of Ryde Esplanade railway station.
As of May 2019, the condition of some of the station buildings led to criticism that it was not a sufficiently welcoming sight for visitors to the island. There were also significant concerns that the age and condition of the Victorian railway pier would mean the line between the Esplanade and Pier Head might have to be abandoned, as it was not seen as economical to renew the pier based on passenger numbers. However, noting that if the pier railway were to close the rest of the Island Line would serve little purpose and therefore also likely close, Network Rail have agreed to fund £5m worth of renewal work on the pier, as the government makes a £26m investment in new trains and track for the route. From 2021 onwards, the Pier Head (and the rest of the Island Line) is served by new Vivarail D-Train Class 484 EMUs, converted from London Underground D78 Stock.
- John Henry Astridge 1880 - 1884 (also station master of Ryde Esplanade)
- James Langworthy 1884 - 1894 (also station master of Ryde Esplanade)
- William Percy Froud 1895 - 1905 (afterwards station master at Portsmouth Town and Portsmouth Harbour)
- T.J.D. Russell 1905 - 1906
- George Henry French 1906 - 1930 (also station master at Ryde Esplanade)
- Malcolm J. Bucket 1930 - 1931 (formerly station master at Fratton, also station master at Ryde Esplanade and Ryde St John's)
- H.E. Millichap ca. 1935 - 1941 (also station master at Ryde Esplanade and Ryde St John's)
- T.F. Thompson 1941 - 1949
- T. Rowley Cliff ca. 1951
Trains run to Shanklin twice per hour during most of the day. This is reduced to hourly on Sunday mornings off-season, very early mornings and late evenings. Certain trains only travel as far as St John's Road. There are no overnight trains. Because of the location of passing loops on the Island Line, services run at 20/40 minute intervals.
Wightlink passenger ferry services run every 30 minutes for most of the day, but are reduced to hourly intervals in the early afternoons and off-season Sunday mornings.
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
|Ryde Esplanade||Island Line
- "National Rail Enquiries – Station Facilities for Ryde Pier Head". Retrieved 28 November 2008.
- "Federick Dale Banister". GracesGuide.co.uk. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- Hardy, Brian (2003). Tube Trains on the Isle of Wight. Harrow Weald, Middlesex: Capital Transport. p. 9. ISBN 1-85414-276-3.
- Maycock, R.J.; Silsbury, R. (2006). The Isle of Wight Railways from 1923 onwards. Oakwood Press. p. [page needed]. ISBN 0-85361-656-6.
- Lori Little (20 May 2019). "Is this a welcome sight for visitors first arriving on the Isle of Wight?". Isle of Wight County Press. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
- "MP calls for Government investment commitment for Island Line". On The Wight. 14 September 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
- Megan Baynes (12 February 2019). "Brexit could delay upgrades to Island Line Trains – SWR growing increasingly concerned". On The Wight. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
- "£26m announced for Island rail line". BBC News. 16 September 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
- "UKs oldest train fleet updated with 26m investment into Isle of Wights railway". www.southwesternrailway.com. 16 September 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
- "Presentation". Isle of Wight Observer. England. 5 April 1884. Retrieved 25 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "The Langworthy Testimonial". Isle of Wight Observer. England. 2 November 1895. Retrieved 25 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "Railway Loss". Hampshire Telegraph. England. 5 October 1923. Retrieved 25 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "1854-1910 Willow Walk and Newhaven Harbour". London, Brighton and South Coast Railway: 79. 1854. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
- "Railway Promotion". Hampshire Telegraph. England. 25 April 1930. Retrieved 25 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- "Three-Stations chief retires". Portsmouth Evening News. England. 23 September 1949. Retrieved 25 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
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