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Last Updated: Friday, 24 March 2006, 11:44 GMT
Island's new community rail route
An island railway, thought to be one of the UK's smallest rail franchises, is to become a Community Rail Route.

The Isle of Wight Island Line currently operates a 8.5m (13.7km) route from Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin.

Rail Minister Derek Twigg made the announcement on Friday. The government hopes it will meet local needs.

He added the Department for Transport would give 180,000 to the Association of Community Rail Partnerships. Island Line trains date back to 1938.

Mr Twigg said: "Designation (as a community rail route) is great news for the Island Line.

"It will ensure management to meet local needs at an affordable price, encouraging involvement from stakeholders."

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