REINTRODUCTION OF OKEHAMPTON TO EXETER RAIL LINK GIVEN GREEN LIGHT IN GOVERNMENT’S NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE STRATEGY
After years of campaigning by various interested parties, including The Moorlander, the much-publicised Okehampton to Exeter rail link, a victim of Dr Beeching’s swingeing cuts during the 1960’s has AT LAST been acknowledged as an important and vital link to the local community and businesses in the South West and will receive part of the £500m fund to restore the line.
Under the heading ‘Connecting Nations and Regions’, the 100 page report includes the following welcome passage.
“The government will also deliver on its manifesto commitment to spend £500 million to restore transport services previously lost in the Beeching cuts of the 1960s, including reopening the Ashington-Blyth line in Northumberland to passenger services, and restoring rail links to Okehampton in Devon.”
Devon County Cllr Andrea Davis said: “This is fantastic news and extremely welcome as we look to support the recovery of the county’s economy. We have had a long-standing commitment to re-introduce regular rail services to Okehampton, and behind the scenes we’ve been lobbying and closely working with Network Rail, GWR and local partners to give this project the best chance of becoming a reality. It has been a great example of collaborative working from all involved. I’m pleased to see that the Department for Transport has backed our collective view that this line deserves support. The County Council has invested a huge amount of time and money into keeping the line alive with the Summer service and also carrying out the study which provides the groundwork for developing plans for this project. I’m sure the local community will be delighted this scheme is getting Government backing.”
The announcement from Westminster came on the very day The Moorlander went to press so this highly important local story which we as a newspaper have been following for over four years has unfortunately missed this week’s edition. We will instead be bringing readers up to date through our website and as more detail unfolds we include a full and comprehensive update in our next edition of The Moorlander published on 11th December.