Regular passenger services are set to be restored on a popular railway line in the south-west of England for the first time in almost 50 years, thanks to £40.5 million of investment, the government has announced today (19 March 2021).
The Department for Transport, Network Rail and Great Western Railway (GWR) are working together to reopen the line between Exeter and Okehampton to passengers all year round. Since 1997, the line has only been open during the summer after a regular service was withdrawn in 1972.
A service will initially run every 2 hours later this year, with the expectation it will increase to an hourly service towards the end of 2022. This will benefit students heading to colleges in Exeter as well as tourists travelling in the other direction towards Okehampton for Dartmoor, easing congestion on local roads.
This is the first project to see services restored under the government’s Restoring Your Railway Fund, launched in January 2020 to reinstate axed local services and restore closed stations. The fund is focused on delivering schemes that can level up the country, reinvigorating high streets, reconnecting cut-off communities and boosting opportunity across the country.