August 1 2014 Latest news:
Friday, July 18, 2014
Two direct services every day linking up Devon’s two premier resorts, Exmouth to the English Riveria, could become a reality.
Train bosses at First Great Western say that they are ‘working’ with the county council to create a Devon Metro service, linking up Exmouth and Paignton – all week round, writes David Beasley.
Dan Okey, First Great Western’s regional development manager for the west, said: “For the longer term, we are actively working with Devon County Council to bring forward plans for a ‘Devon Metro’ and a seven-day timetable, including two trains per hour between Paignton and Exmouth every day.”
In the shorter term, over this summer, he said that they had started running extra services on Sundays.
He said: “These will run to provide a half-hourly service throughout the day.
“First Great Western has run these extra trains in the recent past, including Christmas specials, and we are running them again in partnership with Devon County Council.”
There are a total of seven extra journeys each way on a Sunday – providing a two-trains-per-hour and a higher-frequency service than other lines in Devon on a Sunday.
He said: “This level of service is unique in Devon and reflects the importance we place on this busy line.”
The services will run through until September 14 - they will be semi-fast, with some additional calls at Polsloe Bridge.
Mr Okey said that half of the extra services will extend direct to Exeter St David’s – most services terminate at Exeter Central – to help travellers connecting to mainline services.
He said: “We know this is a particular issue, raised frequently by ALRUG, to enable through journey opportunities and connectivity with the main line.
“At present, to run a half-hour Sunday service throughout the year is not possible with the availability of existing rolling stock and our obligations to meet customer demand across all of our services in Devon.
“However, the extra services we are providing this summer demonstrate our commitment to making incremental improvements on the line before longer term improvements can be brought in.”