After a 50-year hiatus, the Dartmoor Line will resume regular passenger services next month.
Services between Okehampton and Exeter St Davids, via Crediton, will start on 20 November with a journey time of 40 minutes.
The return of Dartmoor Line’s year-round passenger service, which was withdrawn in 1972, is down to a collaboration between the UK Department for Transport (DfT), Network Rail, Great Western Railway (GWR), Devon County Council, Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership and local campaigners and MPs.
This is the first former line to open under the UK government’s Restoring Your Railway programme and will launch ahead of schedule – funding was approved nine months ago.
In order to resume the service, Network Rail engineers have laid 11 miles of new track, installed 24,000 concrete sleepers and 29,000 tonnes of ballast.
Repairs were also made to over structures on the route including four bridges, while vegetation clearance, earth and drainage works and fencing work continues to take place.
Trains will run every two hours, with half of services – including peak times – travelling onwards to Exeter Central. The service will rise to hourly from next May.
“I am thrilled that after a decade of campaigning, a regular passenger service between Okehampton and Exeter has become a reality. [...] It has been a huge amount of hard work by so many people, and a local issue on which I have spent a great deal of time – but it has absolutely been worth it. It will provide thousands of my constituents with a rail service on their doorstep, will be a huge economic boost as we bounce back from the impact of Covid-19 and will reduce carbon emissions by taking cars off the A30.”
Over the winter further work will be undertaken on station buildings, including a café restoration.
More lines and stations are planned for restoration and re-opening as the Restoring Your Railway programme continues.
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Regular train services resumed on the Dartmoor Line between Exeter and Okehampton this past weekend after a 50-year hiatus.
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