Network Rail will start engineering upgrades on parts of the 14-mile Dartmoor Line next week, ahead of the introduction of new hourly services.
The work will take place over 15 days, from Monday 25 April until early on Tuesday 10 May.
This heralds stage two of the Dartmoor Line reopening, building on the reintroduction of regular passenger services last November after a 50-year hiatus.
This was aided by the UK government’s ‘Restoring Your Railway’ programme, which provided 40.5 million GBP (48.27m euros | 54.32m USD) in funding.
The restoration work necessary to resume the service took a total of nine months and came in 10m GBP (11.92m euros | 13.41m USD) under budget.
Currently the line carries two-hourly Great Western Railway (GWR) passenger services between Okehampton and Exeter. Since the reopening an average of 2,000 journeys have been made each week.
The upgrades, at Fatherford and Coleford, will improve the drainage and track bed to enable faster line speeds, which will support the move to hourly services from 15 May.
“We've been delighted with how popular the Dartmoor Line has proven to be and we now need to make some further enhancements to parts of the track in order to facilitate increased line speeds.
“These latest upgrades are critical in enabling this important railway line to increase to hourly services – something we had always committed to achieving upon receiving Government funding.”
While the engineering work is underway a reduced train service will operate between Exeter and Crediton and a rail replacement bus service will be put in place between Crediton and Okehampton.
Train services on the Tarka Line between Exeter and Barnstaple will continue to run as usual.
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