The future of railways on the Isle of Wight will be under scrutiny on Wednesday 28 February 2001.

Passengers, residents, businesses and local associations are being invited to a conference in Ryde so they can say what they want from their local railway.

Ventnor Railway Association is keen that as many people as possible attend so that rail chiefs know how important the railway is to the island.

The society says that time is running out because the Government have left off the Island Line from the franchising process.

It says the rolling stock is nearly at the end of its life and action is needed now to keep the railway.

The conference is being organised by the official watchdog, the Rail Passengers Committee for Southern England.

The RPC's aim from this conference is to find out whether people want the system expanded or if they would feel better served by a light rail (tram) system.

This conference on the island has come about because as part of a delegation Valerie Taylor and Jim Ruby asked the RPC to come and hear for themselves the views of our members and others on the future of the Island line as well as the extension of the railway to Ventnor and other parts of the island.

The event is to be held on Wednesday 28 February at the Ryde Castle Hotel, on Ryde sea front, starting at 09.30. This is a public event and it is very important for the future of rail on the Isle of Wight that as many people as possible attend so that the RPC can see for themselves the strength of feeling and support there is for the railway.

The Ventnor Railway Association wants as many people as possible to attend this meeting because it says: "This could be our last chance to air our views."

The VRA has been asked to speak at the conference. Other speakers are Chris Austin from the Strategic Rail Authority, Keith Wilkox, South Hampshire Rapid Transport Project, Grahame Eccles, Executive Director Stagecoach, David Walker, Business Development Manager for Railtrack Southern, Transport 2000, Tim Addison, Isle of Wight Tourism,Stuart Linn, Southern Vectis, Adrian Searle, Wight Track, and the Isle of Wight Council.

There will be an open forum and a question and answer session which will give people an opportunity to make their views heard. It is a most unusual step for the RPC to put on such an event.

Contact: Valerie Taylor, Chairman Ventnor Railway Association. Tel 01983-852576
or email valtaylor at