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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 UK 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.

Ryde Pier Head National Rail
Ryde Pier Head Station, IW, UK.jpg
Local authorityIsle of Wight
Grid referenceSZ593935
Station codeRYP
Managed byIsland Line
Number of platforms1 (plus 1 disused)
DfT categoryE
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2013/14Decrease 0.210 million
2014/15Increase 0.218 million
2015/16Steady 0.218 million
2016/17Decrease 0.210 million
2017/18Increase 0.212 million
– Interchange Increase 0.152 million
Key datesOpened 12 July 1880 (12 July 1880)
Original companyPortsmouth and Ryde Joint Railway
Pre-groupingPortsmouth and Ryde Joint Railway
Post-groupingSouthern Railway
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Ryde Pier Head from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
A 1945 Ordnance Survey of Ryde showing the location of the Ryde Pier Head, Ryde Esplanade and Ryde St John's Road stations

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 Class 483s (London Underground 1938 Stock).

The ticket office at the station is run by Wightlink[1] and not Island Line.


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,[2] 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).[3]

The station originally consisted of three platforms in the form of a pair of islands; a fourth track was added later, opening in 1933.[4] 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.

The age and condition of the Victorian pier had led to concerns that the railway line between the Esplanade and Pier Head may have to be abandoned, as it was not seen as economical to renew the pier based on passenger numbers.[5] 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,[6] as the government makes a £26m investment in new trains and track for the route.[7][8]


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
  Ferry services
Terminus   Wightlink
high-speed catamaran
  Portsmouth Harbour



  1. ^ "National Rail Enquiries – Station Facilities for Ryde Pier Head". Retrieved 28 November 2008.
  2. ^ "Federick Dale Banister". Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  3. ^ Hardy 2003, p. 9.
  4. ^ Maycock, R.J.; Silsbury, R. (2006). The Isle of Wight Railways from 1923 onwards. Oakwood Press. p. [page needed]. ISBN 0-85361-656-6.
  5. ^ "MP calls for Government investment commitment for Island Line". On The Wight. 14 September 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  6. ^ Megan Baynes (12 February 2019). "Brexit could delay upgrades to Island Line Trains – SWR growing increasingly concerned". On The Wight. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  7. ^ "£26m announced for Island rail line". BBC_News. 16 September 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  8. ^ "UKs oldest train fleet updated with 26m investment into Isle of Wights railway". 16 September 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2019.

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