Business and Economy

Summer Sunday train services return from 20 May

Passengers boarding at Okehampton

Posted on: 4 May 2018

Summer Sunday trains to and from Okehampton will return later this month.

The Great Western Railway (GWR) service, funded by Devon County Council, will run four trains each way between Okehampton and Exeter every Sunday, from Sunday 20 May to Sunday 9 September.

The service, which launched in 1997, is part of the ongoing efforts to re-introduce regular services on the line.

Royal Oke returns to Okehampton

The Summer Sunday train announcement follows the recent second successful special trip of the “Royal Oke”, organised by OkeRail in partnership with GWR, to highlight the demand for regular services.

The special service took more than 300 passengers from Okehampton to Oxford and Stratford Upon Avon– similar to the trip organised to London in 2017.

Councillor Andrea Davis

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Development and Waste, said: “The Summer Sunday services always prove popular with passengers, and we’re pleased to be able to help these services return for another summer. We share the ambition for regular services to Okehampton to be re-introduced which is why the County Council has provided its support for this service since 1997 and why we have been exploring options for a new station for Okehampton. The support from Government is vital in reinstating the services.”

Councillor Kevin Ball

Councillor Kevin Ball, Devon County Councillor for Okehampton Rural, said: “Okehampton is a great destination in the foothills of Dartmoor and provides easy links to the Granite Way cycle route, so the Sunday train is a great opportunity for people from other parts of the county to come and visit Okehampton and the northern moor, not just an opportunity to visit Exeter! I am grateful for Devon County Council’s support of this service again this year.”

Matthew Barnes, Great Western Railway Regional Development Manager, West, said: “Working with Devon County Council, we are delighted that, once again, we are able to run these extra services on Sundays between Exeter and Okehampton, supporting additional visitors to the area. We know these extra trains are greatly valued by the communities we serve and we hope people will come out to make the service a continued success.”

Mike Davies, Chairman of the OkeRail Forum, said: “The re-introduction of regular services on this line are vital to over 100,000 people who haven’t had a train service for almost 50 years. I would encourage as many people as possible to make use of the Sunday Service as it continues to prove our case for the importance and usefulness of a passenger service to Okehampton.”

Dr Michael Ireland, Chair of OkeRail Community Interest Company and Deputy Mayor of Okehampton, said: “Summer trains to Okehampton are a great success and a pathway to the opening of a 7 day a week service to the town station. We should not forget that this success is due in no small part the local volunteers who each year distribute over 4,000 information leaflets door to door in the community and go on the train every Sunday to assist passengers. We are proud to work in partnership with GWR and DCC to deliver this important summer service which brings tourism income to Okehampton an enables people travel on the national rail network.”

Devon County Council has been carrying out studies looking at platform layouts for a parkway station as well as other infrastructure improvements required to run regular train services on the line.

A report, commissioned by the County Council, has been produced to inform discussions between Great Western Railway and the Department for Transport as they explore plans for the introduction of a regular service.

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