Tuesday 31 January 2023

Three Cheers For| Three Piers (2)

The Pedestrian Pier

Back in he 1950s and 1960s foot passenger traffic on a Summer Saturday was huge! You would find it hard to get a motor vehicle to the pier head, although, in theory it was possible! Now the motorist dominates and promenaders are restricted to a narrow walkway on the eastern side of the structure.
In 2010/2011 major renewal work was undertaken to strengthen what had now become a motorists pier with those on foot just about tolerated. The work involved replacing cross beams with new girders ...
... new lengthwise girders and some massive timber supports ...
... or the decking itself. Effectively the pier was renewed from the pile tops upward. It cost a lot of pennies and we wonder why the Wightlink ferry services is so expensive. As part of this rebuild, the tramway pier received a splendid and wide walkway for foot passengers and cyclists.
Everyone thought this was a super smashing idea and looked forward to its permanence and an ongoing safer stroll up the pier.

But the tram pier planking was removed as soon as the main pier was complete. We were told that English Heritage would not approve the conversion of the dilapidated tram pier into a walkway as "it would detract from the Victorian original".

The rotting tram pier was a far worse detraction!

In tomorrow's blog shall see the new walkway soon to open (in 2023) on the tramway pier. Porky pies in 2010/11?

Now it is the turn of the railway pier, the last of he three to arrive.

The Railway Pier
Once upon a time Ryde Pier Head had four platforms, originally three with a fourth (far right) added later.
Platform 4 was last in first out and its remains can still be seen.
In recent years platform 2 has been covered over ...
... leaving a two-sided platform 3, now renumbered 2.
This platform is, effectively, disused as is the eastern track along the full length of the pier.
Access to Platform 2 at Ryde Esplanade is now blocked off and the platform replaced by flowerbeds ...
... BUT ...
... a working signal forlornly waits for ever for trains that will never run.

Once again, the piles are in good condition ...
... it's the stuff on top that is rotting.

Now here is the daft thing. The Island Line has only recently re-opened after a major refurbishment to accommodate the new class 484 ex Underground trains. This work overran drastically. So to welcome back the Island's rail service, the line up the pier is now closed from October 2022 to "Spring" 2023 - whatever that means.

Wouldn't it have made sense to do both "big jobs" at the same time?

This is what they  say about the present closure.
Sounds expensive again!

Island Line has produced a leaflet giving full (overfull?) details ...
... including a shuttle bus from Esplanade to Pier Head. Here is part of the timetable.
The result of the shuttle bus provision is that any through passengers using rail and ferry will have 30 minutes added to their journey time.

So the result of all this money's being spent on the pier may well be a further reduction in ferry traffic, higher fares and a steady decline in the "classic" passenger only route.

Of course this all comes soon after a massive rebuild of the Portsmouth Harbour ferry terminal ...
... to stop the ceiling falling in; and ...
... to prevent passengers' falling through the floor and thus taking sn unexpected dip.

Necessary but costly work, fbb thinks.

Tomorrow, the tramway pier.

 Next Three-Pier blog : Wednesday 1st February 


  1. Clearly there is a time warp in Ryde at 0817. I'm surprised that you didn't draw attention to that little blip.

  2. Andrew Kleissner31 January 2023 at 14:54

    That's when relativity takes over.