Devon County Council have submitted the Strategic Outline Business case for the long-awaited reopening of the Tavistock to Plymouth rail line. This submission to the Government’s Restoring Your Railway programme outlines the rationale and need for the reopening of the line, enhancing travel possibilities between Bere Alston and Tavistock.
Successful completion of the scheme would see the reinstatement of approximately five miles of track and the delivery of a new single platform station at Tavistock.
The introduction of this station would have a transformative effect for the local residents as it will offer new transport links and social inclusion accessibility to the 21,000 residents of Tavistock, Horrabridge, Lamerton, and Mary Tavy. Improved access to jobs, education and healthcare and will support economic growth, which is constrained by the increasing journey times on the A386.
Councillor Debo Sellis, County Councillor for Tavistock, said:
“Many residents are looking forward to having a rail link to Plymouth. Young people are keen to have better connectivity and I will continue to support this ambition until it is realised.”
As outlined by the Government submission, the forecasted annual passenger demand for the new station will bring in 394,000 passengers per year, with around 86,000 being expected to come from new housing developments in Tavistock and an additional 32,000 at existing stations.
An hourly Tavistock-Plymouth service would stop at Bere Alston, Bere Ferrers and the west Plymouth stations, while maintaining the existing two-hourly service between Plymouth and Gunnislake.
Councillor Jonathan Drean, Plymouth City Council Cabinet Member for Transport, said:
“The reopening of the rail line will deliver many benefits for Plymouth – it will relieve pressure on the congested A386 offering an attractive alternative for commuters and school children living north of the city. With a £2bn rebuild programme at Devonport, it would benefit many of the 6,000 workers at the Dockyard and increase the potential pool of workers it could attract. Importantly, the line would also double the frequency of local rail to boost accessibility for the communities of St Budeaux, Keyham and Devonport where we know car ownership is low. I hope it would also open up further opportunities for more freight to be transferred to rail so that we can reduce the number of HGVs using this busy route.”
Through the improvement to rail links through this scheme, the congestion on the A386 between Tavistock and Plymouth will be eased, reducing the carbon emissions around the affected areas, whilst improving air quality at the same time. Travel by rail to Tavistock as a gateway to Dartmoor National Park will also help boost tourism opportunities and minimise the impacts of traffic on a sensitive environment.
Councillor Andrea Davis, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport, said:
“This is the next major milestone in this project and we’re urging the Government to back us in making further progress. There is a strong case for this rail link to be reinstated. It will provide value for money and will be key in tackling congestion on the A386. Establishing sustainable transport options between Tavistock and Plymouth offers huge benefits for the environment and will help meet our carbon reduction targets while supporting the economy and local communities.”
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