The Isle of Wight Council can confirm that a Dotto train service for summer 2010 will be running from Whitsun to September in Ryde and Shanklin, along the normal routes. But in 2011 the trains will be retired in preparation for a new service to be run by Southern Vectis.
The age of the existing vehicles – the oldest of which is nearly thirty years old – has led to increasing maintenance costs and breakdowns in the last few seasons, meaning that to keep the service going reliably one train has been withdrawn to use as a spare. To allow this the Sandown route, which has always been used less heavily than Ryde or Shanklin, has been stopped for 2010.
Matthew Chatfield, Isle of Wight Council Parks and Countryside Manager said:
“We looked at the cost of buying new or refurbished trains, but at over £100,000 per vehicle this was not going to be financially viable. Although we were considering ending the service this year, luckily Southern Vectis were willing to do the maintenance work to the trains over the winter at no cost to the council, to keep them going for one last season. We are grateful to Southern Vectis and particularly to their skilled mechanics for their help.”
The Council will therefore end its involvement with the Dotto service at the end of the 2010 season. Although 2010 will be the last chance to ride the Dotto on the Island roads, it is unlikely to mean the end of the service, as discussions are already taking place between the council and Southern Vectis about the conversion of the Dotto routes to themed vehicle operation on a fully commercial basis, for 2011.
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