South-West Agenda

Reopenings we would like to see are:

1. Taunton-Barnstaple-Atlantic Coast-Newquay and Padstow: a new line using some old formation, this would be a main line conventional railway with a view to quick distributive accessibility to and from North Devon, Atlantic Coast and North Cornwall to the rest of the country. Fast trains from London and the Bristol portal are envisaged to give direct access to places like:
a. Barnstaple, capital of the North Devon area and associated links
b. Bideford and Atlantic Coast. This would open up tourist areas to rail services bringing people minus their cars and the land use conflict of accommodation, jobs and parking demand in pretty places.
c. Newquay needs a fast London direct railway. People don’t want to faff about changing umpteen trains and crawl along to a shell. They want fast, direct trains from principal centres to tourist, sport and visiting centres like Newquay and rival inland air travel.
d. Padstow, that North Cornwall gem tucked away, needs re-railing. This is one option to do just that. We don’t need HS main lines, but conventional lines able to do 120 mph and cater for more freight by rail too, not just minerals, but goods like consumables and perishable too. Bring back the Guards Van in train design for more cycles, parcels, pallets and other small loads including luggage by rail. There’s real jobs in it and we do need to declutter the M4, M5 and Tamar Bridge!
2. Oakehampton-Tavistock-Bere Alston to make an alternative land rail route loop between Exeter and Plymouth to give more rail options, capacity, establish sustainable commuting communities railed from day one. A vital reopening.
3. Barnstaple –Ilfracombe has a campaign group already but we support them in their goals and hope that conventional rails can be restored to Ilfracombe for the ultimate rail experience, opening up the North Devon Coast for more footfall and spend minus the cars.
4. Falmouth to have a docks link line and for the docks to be made a deep sea port. This would save fuel on ships enabling some to land freight at Falmouth and the line should be double tracked throughout with proper new stations and a grand terminus at Falmouth and Docks. This would get freight on rails earlier enabling distribution via Bristol for Birmingham and direct to London too. This would help alleviate London and the Southeast and utilise spare rail capacity, cutting time and cost, which ultimately affects our pockets.
5. We support the initiative to reopen the Helston Branch.
6. We support the reopening of the line to Bridport.
7. We support a looking into the prospect of reopening the Fowey Branch to passenger services.
8. We support the idea of a study to explore the case and route for a new Taunton-Axminster direct line via Chard. This would connect two lines and allow Exeter-Taunton and Salisbury-Taunton likewise.
9. We support a new west to south curve at Yeovil if do-able, to enable direct Exeter-Weymouth and Bridport services forming an arc.
10. We support studies to examine conventional or Light Rail schemes to bring coastal resorts like Sidmouth, Lyme Regis, Weymouth Quay and Ventnor (Isle of Wight) back onto the railway network and map.
11. More should be done to provide rolling stock/wagons for nurturing more small load freight and build up to full block trains. Mixed freight and goods should be nurtured and subsidised if necessary by a calculated savings schemes of road wear and tear per tonne shifted from road to rail in costs and the wider health and environmental/land use availability such switches and nurturing could inform. Milk by rail from the west country to London is one, post by rail another, and roll-on, roll-off inland motor-rail should all be looked at, with recycling bulky materials, compositing and ash from incinerators all being made to be rail bourne as a pre-planning requirement.
12. Better coordination of existing rail services, right type of stock design to take advantage of panoramic views and adequate connections between branch lines and main lines needs better coordination to enable regional rail rover tickets to work properly without people made to wait for connections too long at stations. A study should also look at returning Bude to the rail network out of Exeter. Again fast services to Exeter from London can ensure resort-capital commute is possible and desirable and use should be made of the Southall-Brentford line for utilising the former Eurostar Platforms at Waterloo for more South-West rail terminal capacity and access than cramming all into Paddington, which is full. Running some trains direct from the South-West via Old Oak Common to the Grendon-Great Central lines (see other page reopening) could take Exeter-Leicester direct and avoid changing in London altogether. Likewise direct running south of Reading could take Exeter-Gatwick Airport via Redhill and a reopened Guildford-Shoreham/Brighton as a main line, could enable quicker trains from Bristol and the South West to Brighton. All this gives more choice, creates sustainable employment and cuts emissions from standing congestion exhaust, which costs the world dear in procurement terms.

How you can help

What you can do: If you agree with any or all of what we are expressing here you can:

  • Let us know which suggestions listed here you particularly welcome or provide us with any other feedback, please see Contact Us page
  • Join ERTA – every member helps make us a louder shout for more of what we may wish for. Please see Membership page for more information.
  • Offer time and talent – if you want to get involved we have volunteer opportunities and whilst we welcome reliability and enthusiasm, we welcome any special focuses or skills. Please see Get Involved (Volunteering) page for more information. We welcome a volunteer to become our own Area Rep, convene forums, gather people together, recruit new members, advocate the above agenda and grow a team to progress it further with our guidance and liaison. Volunteers we welcome are people who join, who prove reliable, honest and take a measured approach to incrementally getting things done in a competent manner. If interested get in touch.