Sunday, 14 March 2021

£40million for Trains to Okehampton

More than £40 million of funding was announced in the recent Budget to reinstate passenger services on the Okehampton to Exeter rail line.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak confirmed Government backing for regular services on the line, which has received a warm welcome in the county.

The investment will aim to improve transport links between communities and create employment opportunities across the county.

No date for when a regular service is set to begin has been given.

Commitment to restore the line had been included as part of the government's 2020 Spending Review in November, but no investment amount was specified.

The restoration of the line had also previously been included in the National Infrastructure Strategy .

Regular Okehampton to Exeter passenger services ended in June 1972, with only a limited service running on the line on Sundays during the summer since 1997.

The budget stated the investment would "provide good quality transport links between communities" as well as "improve employment opportunities" in the local area.

 A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Following today’s budget announcement, we welcome confirmation that government has made available over £40m of funding to support the reopening of the Dartmoor Line as part of the Department for Transport’s ‘Restoring Your Railway’ initiative.

“We look forward to completing the necessary preparatory work and working with our partners to finalise plans for regular passenger services between Okehampton and Exeter.”

Devon County Council has supported the Okehampton line over the past couple of decades with the summer Sunday service to and from Exeter, demonstrating its commitment to seeing this line brought back into regular weekday service.