Railway bridge in Cornwall

Where are significant rail investments in the South West being spent?

Ahead of further debate on rail investment in Dorset, the Rail Peninsula Task Force has highlighted some of the significant rail investments to have been made into the South West region.

In a report prepared ahead of those debates by Devon County Council, more than £300m investment has been spent on improving the railway network in the region since the submission of a regional transport plan to the Department for Transport in 2016.

This includes:

  • Over £50m investment in improving resilience of the line north of Cowley and in Somerset Levels
  • Over £120m and a further £30m committed to deliver a new sea wall and promenade in Dawlish, including cliff stabilisation and rock fall shelters at tunnel portals between Dawlish and Teignmouth.
  • Over £40m to reopen the Dartmoor Line between Exeter, Crediton and Okehampton
  • Over £50m investment in creating 21st century maintenance depot facilities at Exeter St David’s and Long Rock (Penzance), capable of servicing longer trains
  • £30m Cornwall mainline re-signalling to increase capacity for better local services
  • £14m refurbishment of the Sleeper Service
  • New Inter-City Express Trains delivered with significantly increased seating capacity for passengers on an hourly speeded up timetable, and Improved rail services offering better connectivity, including:
    • 2-hourly semi-fast trains between Paddington and Exeter
    • 2 trains per hour even headway Plymouth-Penzance
    • Extra XCT services between Bristol and Exeter
    • Half hourly service Exmouth – Paignton
    • New Stations Fund monies secured for Marsh Barton Station (Exeter) and Edginswell Station (Torbay)

Since 2020, the Peninsula Rail Task Force has been the strategic rail sub group of Peninsula Transport, the shadow sub-national transport body representing Cornwall, Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay.

The report also highlighted desires to increase the number of rail freight terminals in the region, alongside increasing the number of stops suitable for loading and unloading across Devon, Somerset and Cornwall, supporting regional goods connectivity, as well as reducing the number of lorries from the roads.

The report states: "Regarding freight, the South West Sub National Transport Bodies have jointly commissioned a freight strategy, which is nearing completion.

"The strategy includes recommendations that support mode shift of freight to rail, including establishing a plan for a network of rail freight intermodal terminals in the South West and ensuring the rail industry allocates sufficient freight train paths on the main line and diversionary routes.

"We will continue to develop these proposals and build this into the emerging rail strategy plans for the Peninsula."

The region will also seek to make significant progress with environmental strategies as well. Some of the regional schemes which have been able to support this have included the completion of the Great Western electrification programme, the development of the North of Dartmoor line, connecting Plymouth via Okehampton and Tavistock – opening new public transport options for commuters in the region – as well as working with local councils and stakeholders to meet and support climate emergency goals.

RTM Dec/Jan 22

RTM Dec/Jan 22

Transforming Weather and Seasons

Our December-January 2021-22 edition of RTM is packed with insights and innovations to help us deliver the railway network of the future. As we enter into the winter period, it’s fitting that we offer our cover story to Network Rail’s Dr Brian Haddock, discussing how weather and seasons are changing our railway network. Elsewhere, we have Charlotte Blach explain a new tool to support supply chain opportunities, and delve deeper into Track & Infrastructure innovations, alongside so much more…




View all videos
Passenger Safety

RTM365 Online Festival

The future of rail safety
24 February 22

Everyone has the right to go home safe.

The health and safety of both our workforce and passengers are paramount and it should be a priority in all of our project, development, and maintenance activities. Despite the fact that our railway is one of the safest in the world, there is still work to be done to protect the safety of everyone. Using technology to its full extent can improve important, accurate, and potentially lifesaving communications.

RTM365 will bring together industry leaders on February 22nd to discuss how we can use changing safety technology, promote training and development, and create a safer railway for both our employees and passengers.


The Green Rail Revolution

Maria Machancoses, Director of Midlands Connect discusses the importance of HS2 to the Midlands and the UK, their collaborative work with the Department for Transport, and how we need to embrace the railways again.

More articles...

View all