MONDAY'S announcement of a £26 million investment in Island Line was met with criticism from Light Rail Isle of Wight (LRIW), which said it was a 'shameful day'.

It criticised the direction the Department of Transport has taken in choosing to continue with heavy rail.

A spokesperson said: "September 16 has been a shameful day for Island Line as our Government once again will have to eat its words.

"The current franchisee, South Western Railway, has not delivered the more sustainable solution for Island Line that was specifically requested by the Department for Transport invitation to tender.

"It is also abysmal, in this day and age, that the department can see no further than heavy rail, and so another branch line is to continue with the expensive make do and mend policy, costing this line more than £3.5 million a year."

In 2017, LRIW put forward proposals to the Isle of Wight Council that Island Line be upgraded to a modern, greener, more frequent and easily extendable new light rail system.

The new service would have seen the introduction of new lightweight trains.

Roger Berrisford, LRIW spokesperson, said: "Our proposals would have delivered a 15-minute service using six new lightweight trains which could in the future be extended to re-link towns such as Newport and Cowes.

"When we met the council in 2017, they were open to the idea of a new light rail system and asked thoughtful, intelligent questions.

"The council should now make clear, publicly, what their views are on this important transport issue, and demonstrate they are not being brow-beaten by outdated, overly expensive and unsuitable ideas.”