New train stations will bring economic benefit and ease traffic congestion in the city

Devon train

Posted on: 11 December 2012

Councillors this week approved layout plans for two new railway stations for Exeter, prior to formal planning applications being submitted.

The two new stations, at Newcourt and Marsh Barton, will be part of the Devon Metro initiative, developed to help the local rail network improve capacity and quality of service.

They are supported by Devon County Council’s Local Transport Plan and Exeter City’s Local Development Framework.

Newcourt station will be located adjacent to the former Royal Naval Stores Depot development area, with journey times into the city centre of just over 10 minutes.

It will consist of a single 124 metre platform, suitable for longer trains, and will include a shelter, ticket machine and customer information system.

Pedestrian and cyclists’ access will mainly be from Liberty Way.

A small drop off area and parking for disabled people will also be provided.

The station at Marsh Barton will be centrally located within the trading estate, near the rail bridge served off Alphin Brook Road.

It will provide the opportunity for rail commuting from South and East Devon to the estate, relieving pressure on the A379 and Countess Wear.

Two platforms, both 124 metres long, will be linked by a footbridge with a lift.  The platforms will have shelters, ticket machines and a customer information system.

Because Marsh Barton station will be used more by commuters travelling to work, it will have only limited parking, accessed from the Riverside Valley Park side of the railway, with spaces available for disabled people.

Access for pedestrians, cyclists, and for emergency vehicles will from the Marsh Barton side of the station.

Both the Newcourt and Marsh Barton stations will include secure cycle facilities and CCTV security.

Proposals for the new stations have been positively received by the Devon and Exeter Rail Working Party and are supported by First Great Western and Network Rail, the Rail Users Group and the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership.

Formal applications for planning permissions will now be made, with further consultation as part of the planning process.

Preliminary estimated costs, subject to the final designs, are expected to be in the region of £2 million for the new station at Newcourt, and £4 million for the station at Marsh Barton.

Funding has yet to be secured, but the Council hopes that with the outline designs agreed and with planning permission, they’ll be in a stronger position to secure external funding.

Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways and Transportation, Cllr Stuart Hughes, said:

“We have an excellent rail network in Devon, with many of our major market and coastal towns well connected with Exeter, providing transport for work, leisure or shopping.

“We are keen that the rail network fulfils its potential and these two new stations will build upon recent funding secured for additional services and capacity on local routes out of Exeter.

“Economic assessment has shown that the proposed new stations would be good value for money providing travel time benefits for rail users who would be able to avoid traffic congestion on surrounding roads.  Other road users are anticipated to benefit from congestion relief.

“There are few counties in the country making such major steps with the rail network and I will be encouraging Members to support this ongoing investment in the rail system, which is fundamental in supporting sustainable growth across the county.”

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, County Councillor for St Loyes and Topsham, said:

“I’ve been listening to people about the proposals and have taken their views on board.

“I’m looking forward to when the station is open, offering an alternative mode of transport to local residents, whilst also helping to reduce congestion on local roads, including Topsham Road.”

Councillor Vanessa Newcombe, County Councillor for Alphington and Cowick, said:

“I welcome the progress of the proposal to put a new railway station in Marsh Barton. It will be a great asset to the area.”

The planning applications will be considered by the Council’s independent Development Management Committee in the New Year.

22 comments on “New train stations will bring economic benefit and ease traffic congestion in the city

  1. Andrew Sibley on said:

    While a Devon Metro with new stations in Exeter is great news, there is a need to liaise with Dorset and Somerset CCs to link Exeter, Honiton, Axminster, with Yeovil, Dorchester and Weymouth/Bournemouth. The track is already there if there is the will to bring about a new regional service.

  2. Dan Grey on said:

    The decision to prioritise a new station at Newcourt over one at Monkerton needs to be revisited in the light of the 1,000 new homes being built around the Met Office and the new hotel, pub, and Morrisons all being built in in the immediate area.

    Sandy Park is already served by Digby & Sowton so siting a new station only 1,000 m away when Digby & Sowton and Polsloe Bridge are 4 km apart is, at best, odd.

    • A new station at Monkerton remains a priority for Devon County Council, to serve part of the Monkerton Strategic allocation, Exeter Business Park and the Hill Barton area, and is included in the Exeter Transport Strategy. The development in this area is gradually coming forward and DCC has safeguarded land to provide access to the station. In the mean-time the area benefits from good transport links being close to principle bus corridors into the city.

      The Newcourt Strategic allocation of 3,500 houses is further advanced, with around 500 houses complete and another 700 expected to be complete by the end of 2016. Although Digby and Sowton is not far away the congested highway links in the area create severance impacts meaning that accessibility, particularly by public transport, is poor. Consequently in prioritising which station to deliver first Newcourt was selected due to its rapidly advancing development and poor public transport accessibility.

    • Dan Grey on said:

      Thank you for the detailed reply! I hadn’t realised the scale of the development at Newcourt.

  3. Diana Moore on said:

    Good news about the stations but the Marsh Barton Station really need to tie in with buses that connect properly to the local areas e.g. Alphington and the park and ride, into town and further out e.g. Exminister if they are to be of any proper value.

  4. eileen johnston and carol johns on said:

    Great news for Exeter commuters but what about the proposed rail link improvement for Okehampton? Is there a planned date?
    We are currently suffering from amended/reduced bus services in the area which is causing considerable disruption for work commuters.

    • Devon Newscentre on said:

      Thanks. We’re still awaiting the outcome of the Brown Report into rail franchising and the Government’s response before we can do anything further on the Okehampton situation.

  5. Gary Skull on said:

    Why does everything have to so Exeter Centric, the transport links to West and North Devon are to say the least, poor and infrequent, lets spend some money on improving transport links to the rest of the county!! We all pay council tax and get very little benifit away from Exeter.

  6. ros Cummings on said:

    We really need a rail link at the airport which would reduce congestion and support our economy. It should be intergrated with transport systems not excluded from them. The new town and business development will continue to strangle our choked road systems we need to act now to ensure that transport links serve those areas frequented by high volumes of traffic.

    • Devon Newscentre on said:

      Thank you Ros. The new station at Cranbrook, due to open in Dec 2013, will serve the new community and Skypark. As further development takes place enhanced bus connections will be provided, improving the link from the station to Skypark and Science Park.

      Unfortunately it is not possible to provide a dedicated station for the airport as this would require a new section of railway to the airport, which would not be affordable.

  7. G Dempster on said:

    A few months ago there was talk about a new station for Okehampton and councillors agreed in principle. What is happening about this proposal? Okehampton (and West Devon) are desperate for employment opportunities and this would be a catalyst for creating jobs. Good news for Exeter, but we all pay council tax, spread the money further west!

    • Devon Newscentre on said:

      Hi. We’re still awaiting the outcome of the Brown Report into rail franchising and the Government’s response before we can do anything further.

  8. C Chapman on said:

    Great news for Exeter – but it would be helpful if West Devon could have some stations too. All we ever get on this side of Devon is cycle tracks!

  9. I assume the Marsh Barton station will be on the disused branchline that runs from near St.Thomas’s station?

    • Devon Newscentre on said:

      The station at Marsh Barton will be on the main line south of Exeter St Thomas and adjacent to Clapperbrook Lane overbridge. This will allow local trains between Exeter and Paignton to serve the station. The majority of these trains will continue to Exmouth and provide cross city links to the eastern side of the city.

      The disused branch line referred to, known as Alphington Spur, is in fact a freight only line served by weekly scrap metal trains.

  10. K Haslett on said:

    Although more stations in the Exeter area is a good idea, could the re-instating of the station at Cullompton be considered a priority to ease traffic into the city?

    • Devon Newscentre on said:

      Whilst the new stations in the Exeter area are the immediate priority, longer term it is intended to develop proposals for additional new stations as part of further stages of the Devon Metro initiative. This could potentially include a station at Cullompton although this would require regular local services, to stop at the station, and other possible infrastructure improvements.

  11. Richard Smith on said:

    And at the airport, they need to have a station for passengers, preferably with a terminal building.

  12. Simon Spoerer on said:

    This is great news. But Exeter St Thomas station also needs investment to make it accessible. Platform 1 is very low and people getting off trains face a substantial jump down to the platform or climb up into carriages. This means that it can be difficult or impossible for older or disabled people and anyone with young children to get on or off a train. And even if they can, they face a lot of steps up from or down to street level. This is a long-standing and well known problem for people who live or work in St Thomas. If money is around for stations, perhaps we should finish the ones we already have first?

  13. Trevor Sharp on said:

    Would it not be worth having one at Exminster too as that would be easy to build, close to at lease one end of the village and would reduce traffic into Exeter

  14. Charles Selley on said:

    I hope both Stations get approval….shame Stations couldn’t be located with Park & Ride.

    • Devon Newscentre on said:

      The meeting on Wednesday is initially to discuss the layout plans before the plans are submitted for planning permission. The Development Management Committee will then consider the applications, as part of the usual planning process, in the New Year.

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