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Two days ago, one of the Mezzanine Car Decks failed, dropping people 6ft as it was being lowered.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-28382187



I have been looking into the ~30 year old ferries, the last coming into service in 1990 and it looks like there is more trouble brewing ahead.

First: Fuel. The Ferries are being forced from next year to switch to a cleaner, but 40% more expensive fuel. These costs are going to have to be recouped somewhere, and we all know where. The Solent is already the most expensive piece of water in the world to cross (technically second, East to West Cowes is more expensive, but that's part of the Solent anyway) and this can only harm the Isle of Wight economy.

Second: Cars are getting bigger. When the St. Class Ferries were introduced in the 80's, they had a design capacity 160 cars. Since cars have got larger, they now struggle to fit 100 on board. That is a near 40% capacity reduction, with more expensive fuel.

So, what is the solution? Bigger Ferries are more expensive of course. Should the fuel be subsidised? Should the Ferries be brought back into national ownership and run at a loss?

Bonus Pic: The Ferries before British Rail was privatised. Yes, Sealink was part of British Rail.



The Lymington-Yarmouth route just got new Ferries a few years back, and the locals complained they were too big :bash:
 

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Isle of Wight Observer January 5 1901


THE ISLAND TUNNEL SCHEME

There has been on the mainland, as well as in the Isle of Wight, a good deal of specualtion as to who are the promoters of the proposed tunnel under the Solent. There are five promoters, and we are now able to give their names, which are as follows: The Right Hon the Earl of Egmont, Sir John Blundell Maple, MP, and Messrs Frank G Aman, Richard W Evelyn Middleton, and R Cunninghame Murray.

These gentlemen will be the first directors of the new company, which will be known as the South Western and Isle of Wight Junction Railway Company. The new company will be floated with a capital of £600,000 in 60,000 shares of £10 each, and the estimated cost of the undertaking is put down at £530,000. In the Bill, which it is expected will come before Parliament in April.

Power is sought to enable the London and South Western Railway Company to subscribe and to apply funds for the purpose, and facilities are also sought for the forwarding and interchange of traffic to and from the railway over the lines worked by the Isle of Wight Central Railway Company in the Island, as well as to enter into working agreements with this company and the London and South Western Company.

The entire length of the new line will be seven miles, four furlongs, and 75 yards. The tunnel will be two miles, two furlongs, and 60 yards long, and about one mile and three furlongs will be under water.


Sorted.

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I wouldn't want to see a road tunnel being built but a rail tunnel, if capable of taking piggy back lorries like the Channel Tunnel, wouldn't be too bad. With a road tunnel the island would cease to be one in the minds of motorists while a rail tunnel could help limit road traffic to levels not much above what there is now with the ferries. Rail passengers would have priority and there would be direct services to Waterloo as extensions of the existing SWT services.
 

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I wouldn't want to see a road tunnel being built but a rail tunnel, if capable of taking piggy back lorries like the Channel Tunnel, wouldn't be too bad. With a road tunnel the island would cease to be one in the minds of motorists while a rail tunnel could help limit road traffic to levels not much above what there is now with the ferries. Rail passengers would have priority and there would be direct services to Waterloo as extensions of the existing SWT services.
Hmm - I wonder if the traffic on offer to/from the IoW would justify the cost of huge bores, dedicated shuttle stock, terminals etc. I suspect not.

Still, even a standard 6.2m tunnel would allow standard low bed flat wagons capable of carrying cars and small vans, plus 10 ft height containers. Assuming the line dived underground at Portsmouth & Southsea station, it might as well head due west to Gosport, additionally linking Britain's largest rail-less population centre to boost the BCR. The line could then turn due south and need only be underwater for some 3.5km before emerging in Ryde.
 

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I wouldn't want to see a road tunnel being built but a rail tunnel, if capable of taking piggy back lorries like the Channel Tunnel, wouldn't be too bad. With a road tunnel the island would cease to be one in the minds of motorists while a rail tunnel could help limit road traffic to levels not much above what there is now with the ferries. Rail passengers would have priority and there would be direct services to Waterloo as extensions of the existing SWT services.
The problem it's the expensive car ferries that are crippling the Islands economy. In the peak months a period return for a car and driver can be £140. Thats a lot of money to take from someone's holiday budget and it makes short breaks on the Island difficult.

Plus of course the ferry companies have cut back sailings in the evenings on the car and passenger ferries. It makes travelling to the island after work a chancy affair because if you are late you may have to wait 2 hours for the next car ferry or one hour for the passenger ferry. There is a potential risk of you have to sleep in your car/in the waiting room till the first ferry in the morning.

I simple vehicle bridge on the West side of the Island would be fairly cheap as it would avoid the deep sea channel.

A road bridge would transform the Island, no longer tied to a declining timetable, you could cross as soon as you reached the coast, any traffic delay is no longer a nail biting race to catch the ferry.

A bridge would have a much lower toll than the ferry, people could commute off island to either bournemouth or Southampton for work.

No longer would kids have to leave the Island for any economic future. New business would also fill up some of the Islands rather slow to develop business parks.

Currently the Islands schools are rated amongst the worst in the country. i's gotten so bad it's leading to a recruitment crisis across the Public sector on the Island. Schools find it difficult to get non island recruits as no one wants to move their kids here , the problem is no beginning to effect GP practices and the Hospital as anyone with a family can stay on the South coast rather than be stuck on the Island.

The main problem of course is that the Island is dominated by retirees and holiday home owners, who don't want any development and don't need a thriving local economy as all their money comes from the mainland.

So nothing will be done, because they all man the barricades over 20 new houses or a couple of wind turbines, so no a bridge is out of the question unless the ferry gets so expensive that it finally cause the economy to implode.
 

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Solent tunnel idea attacked by critics
A previous £60m plan for a rail tunnel between Portsmouth and Ryde was abandoned in 2002 after a massive public outcry.

A 1998 feasibility study concluded that a toll-funded road tunnel would cost more than £300m.​

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/2156654.solent_tunnel_idea_attacked_by_critics/


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I mentioned this tunnel on the national rail thread must admit I thought it was from the 80's not the early 2000's unless there has been a second scheme
 

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Two days ago, one of the Mezzanine Car Decks failed, dropping people 6ft as it was being lowered.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-28382187



I have been looking into the ~30 year old ferries, the last coming into service in 1990 and it looks like there is more trouble brewing ahead.

First: Fuel. The Ferries are being forced from next year to switch to a cleaner, but 40% more expensive fuel. These costs are going to have to be recouped somewhere, and we all know where. The Solent is already the most expensive piece of water in the world to cross (technically second, East to West Cowes is more expensive, but that's part of the Solent anyway) and this can only harm the Isle of Wight economy.

Second: Cars are getting bigger. When the St. Class Ferries were introduced in the 80's, they had a design capacity 160 cars. Since cars have got larger, they now struggle to fit 100 on board. That is a near 40% capacity reduction, with more expensive fuel.

So, what is the solution? Bigger Ferries are more expensive of course. Should the fuel be subsidised? Should the Ferries be brought back into national ownership and run at a loss?

Bonus Pic: The Ferries before British Rail was privatised. Yes, Sealink was part of British Rail.



The Lymington-Yarmouth route just got new Ferries a few years back, and the locals complained they were too big :bash:
this is the ferry in question

 
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