Current rail improvement schemes

South West Rail Resilience Project

Resilience on our coastal mainline has always been the top rail priority – the line at Dawlish is a vital link between the peninsula and the rest of the UK. Network Rail has progressed many elements on the South West Rail Resilience Programme. Completion of all five phases of this programme will ensure long-term resilience of the line, which is vital to the economic success and levelling-up of the region. More information can be found on Network Rail’s website.

Northern route

This scheme will be vital in delivering better connectivity and more rail capacity for the peninsula. Our ambition is end-to-end reopening of this line from Plymouth to Okehampton. The Okehampton to Exeter line is the first phase of the northern route identified in the PRTF’s 20-year plan and reopened in November 2021. The reintroduction of a seven day week service over this section of line will vastly improve the travel to work connectivity across the area and provide better public transport options for our communities. Added to this are tourism benefits for Dartmoor National Park, as well as links to north Cornwall.

Devon County Council has also now put forward a funding bid to Government in February 2021 under the Restoring Your Railways initiative to develop the business case to reinstate the rail line between Tavistock and Bere Alston, thereby connecting Tavistock to Plymouth by rail.

Mobile connectivity

Onboard mobile connectivity has been a longstanding issue, with the PRTF’s ‘Closing the Gap’ strategic blueprint, produced in 2016, identifying the need for continuous mobile connectivity as one of the top three priorities for rail improvements, a position that remains unchanged.

Working with Network Rail, PRTF is currently providing assistance to secure funding to provide continuous mobile connectivity for rail passengers and lineside communities to all the lines within the South West peninsula rail network, eliminating significant ’not spots’ existing over much of the network.

St Budeaux Interchange

This scheme will improve sustainable transport links in Plymouth, encouraging more residents and commuters to walk, cycle and use public transport to get around the city. Under these plans, St. Budeaux Station (Victoria Road and Ferry Road) will provide a pivotal role as a sustainable transport interchange, connecting commuters from the South East of Cornwall and West Devon to parts of the city with employment and healthcare opportunities in both the Derriford & Northern Corridor and City Centre & Waterfront growth areas. More information can be found on Plymouth City Council’s website.

Rail freight transport

Our future work will include looking at options to improve rail freight transport. With the right service changes such as a night freight service and rail infrastructure, our rail network could unlock its full potential for freight. Being able to move goods by rail has its advantages, particularly as we face delivery and driver shortages in the short term. Longer term, rail offers a more economic and environmentally beneficial way of moving goods.

Integration of rail with other modes of transport

Future work will also look at how other modes of transport, including walking and cycling, can be best integrated with the rail network. Part of delivering the National Bus Strategy will be developing rail stations into hubs for connecting services.

Station improvements

Edginswell Station – A proposed new railway station on the edge of Torquay, between Newton Road and Riviera Way. The station will increase the opportunities for travel and provide connections for residents and commuters. Learn more on Torquay Council’s website.

Exeter St David’s Station– Redevelopment plans to transform it into a gateway for the city. Learn more here:

Marsh Barton Station – Marsh Barton will be a new railway station situated on the Exeter to Newton Abbot line, south of Clapperbrook Lane adjacent to the Energy from Waste Plant. The project aims to improve the competitiveness of existing businesses and will unlock further economic growth through development at Marsh Barton and South West Exeter. Learn more on Devon County Council’s website.

Plymouth Station – Plymouth Station is currently under redevelopment to transform it into a gateway for the city. Learn more on Plymouth City Council’s website.

Taunton Station – Great Western Railway (GWR) is redeveloping Taunton Station and improving the interchange facilities. Learn more on GWR’s website.

Wellington and Cullompton Railway Stations Project – The Devon and Somerset Metro Board submitted a case to the Department of Transport in February 2021 to reopen the stations at Wellington and Cullompton. This was favourably received and work is now progressing to develop detailed designs for each town. Both stations were closed in 1964 but the populations of each town have grown significantly since. More information on Cullompton Station is available on Mid Devon District Council’s website and more information on Wellington station is available on Somerset West and Taunton Council’s website.