200 people attended Britain Remade meeting for the TavyRAIL cause April 2024

More than 10,000 passengers use Dartmoor Line in first two weeks

Get on board with town’s rail campaign
4th April 2022

Simon Earland left and Richard Searight Peninsula Rail Group

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the leader of a rail group petitioning for the return of the Tavistock to Bere Alston railway says he is ‘optimistic’ of its return as he issues a rallying cry to people in Tavistock to attend a key meeting about the project.

A public meeting to discuss the Tavistock Plymouth Railway Restoration project will take place at the Bedford Hotel in Tavistock on Wednesday (April 6) at 7pm. There is room for 50 people.

Speaking at the meeting, to which mayor of Tavistock Andy Hutton has been invited, will be key figures from railway company GWR and Devon County Council involved in the bid.

Richard Searight, who is chair of the Peninsula Rail Group, said they would be updating members on progress of the bid promoting the restoration of the Tavistock to Plymouth line mentioned in the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget last year.

They will also speak about what was involved in preparing for the return of the Exeter to Okehampton service.

Mr Searight said that in his 10 years of campaigning for the return of the Tavistock to Bere Alston railway line, he had never been so confident as now of success.

This follows the allocation in the Chancellor’s budget of £50,000 for a fresh bid to the Government for funding to reinstate the track and infrastructure. That bid is currently being prepared by the county council.

‘We are optimistic for this firstly because it was mentioned in the autumn budget, that has never happened before,’ he said.

‘If everyone is of one voice and pushing for it that is a massive help and that is why we are calling this meeting. It really is an historic event. We all need to get behind the bid and we are hoping it will happen this time.

‘I have been campaigning on this for 10 years and I have never seen things moving as they are now, with the Okehampton service going so well. They are getting 2,500 passengers a week. If we can unite behind it now, then we can see this happen for Tavistock too.’

The meeting at the Bedford Hotel on Wednesday will hear from Matthew Barnes, who is Great Western Railway’s head of strategic service development, and Jamie Hulland, transportation strategy and road safety manager at Devon County Council.

They will give a progress report on the bid promoting the restoration of the Tavistock to Plymouth line. The bid to the Department for Transport is being compiled by Devon County Council in consultation with rail company GWR and infrastructure company Network Rail.

The speakers will also be talking about the £40m feat of engineering involved in bringing the rail service back to Okehampton, which was completed under budget and earlier than scheduled.

Mr Searight added: ‘It is all very exciting to get the detail of what is going to happen.’

He said he was encouraging people to come along.

‘The enthusiasm of the public is so important in determining whether we get the train back,’ he said.

‘There are so many benefits for people in Tavistock. The first one is it makes Plymouth a place you can work in and commute to by rail. It is also extremely important because it will take traffic off the A386.

‘A rail service would be a huge boost for the town.

‘People will be able to come and shop and go to Goosey Fair and do all the things that people like about Tavistock and of course it means we in Tavistock can go to Plymouth easily and cheaply ourselves.’

The event is free, but booking is essential as space is limited. Please email info@2day.ws


Wednesday, 15 December 2021 - news Times reporter by Times reporter editorial@tavistock-today.co.uk

More than 10,000 people have travelled on the Dartmoor Line in the two weeks since it reopened, rail company GWR has revealed.

The line reopened for regular year-round, all-week passenger services on Saturday, 20 November and demand for the trains linking Okehampton and Exeter has remained consistently high.

The reopening of the Dartmoor Line is the first of the Government’s Restoring Your Railway schemes, made possible by over £40 million of government investment.

GWR managing director Mark Hopwood said: ’Delivered £10 million under budget and within nine months, ahead of time, I am delighted to see that in its first two weeks the line is starting to flourish. ’The reopening has been a key aspiration for the community and the rail industry for some time, and the demand for services shows just how important good rail connections are for the community they serve.’

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps dispatched the first weekday passenger train to run on the Dartmoor Line for over 50 years.

The first train ran on Wednesday, November 17 before regular passenger services on Saturday, November 20, travelling from Okehampton, and carried local schoolchildren, campaigners, railway staff, and supporters who all helped make the project happen.

Reacting to the newly released figures, he said: ’The Dartmoor Line has been a huge local success story - and these numbers show it. ’This link is already incredibly important to Okehampton, Exeter, Devon and to people from further afield visiting Dartmoor. ’It was brilliant to open the line last month, delivered two years early and £10 million under budget - now delivering for the local community.’

The Department for Transport, Network Rail and Great Western Railway (GWR) worked together on the reopening of the railway, delivering passenger services in only nine months from the original funding being approved to entry into service, and coming in at £10 million under budget!


Tavistock Walk and Talk on 5th May 2018

The restoration of our train services is 
relatively cheap, crucial and feasible

Interested members of the public on Tavistock station - still waiting  after 50 years!

 “What a day! The organisers did a fantastic job. However the commemoration was both a sad and an happy event. Sad in that so much magnificent railway structure was destroyed  in 1968 but happy in that it will be just a matter of time before it is reinstated. The Secretary of State, Chris Grayling has ordered that the initial  Okehampton to Exeter services be restored as soon as ‘reasonably possible’. The next to be restored has to be the Tavistock to Gunnislake line -  followed finally by the 21 miles stretch between Okehampton and Tavistock. This will complete, the ‘Northern Route’ between Exeter and Plymouth. Depending on the contactor the cost of the entire restoration could be as little as the cost of just two miles of the HS2.

As of 5th May 2018 over 100,000 people in West Devon and North Cornwall have not access to regular train services for 50 years. This  has held back the region, destroyed businesses and a left Plymouth with a single weather dependent route running along a beach in places!

The restoration of our train services is cheap, crucial and feasible. For more information go to www.prg.2day.uk or Peninsular Rail Group  on Facebook. Join the campaign for your sake and your children’s sake”

Richard Searight Founder / Chair of Peninsular Rail Group

Notices  advertising the Commemorations

Tavistock Railway Closure Commemorative Walk

05 May 2018

In May 1968 the last train left Tavistock and the town’s link to the national railway network was severed. To mark the anniversary of closure, railway history author and photographer Stephen Fryer is leading a guided walk with a rare opportunity to see inside the old station building and hear how 2,000 navvies overcame the challenges of building 76 bridges, six viaducts, three tunnels and numerous cuttings as we explore a section of the old railway track. Meet outside Tavistock Town Hall at 2.00pm on Saturday 5th May.

Tickets cost £5 on the day (under 16s free)


Tavistock Railway Closure Commemorative Talk

United Reformed Church, Russell Street Tavistock

05 May 2018

With talk of the railway returning to Tavistock, here is a rare chance to find out more about how the railway arrived first time around almost 120 years ago, and how the town was cut off from the UK railway network half a century ago on 5th May 1968. Railway author Stephen Fryer will talk about the building of the line, while Bernard Mills will share his memories and anecdotes about his early career as a railwayman at Tavistock – this promises to be a fascinating and highly entertaining commemorative talk. United Reformed Church (Russell Street) on Saturday 5th May at 7.30pm.


Tickets cost £5 on the door (under 16s free)