Full disclosure: for newspaper deadline reasons this article was written just before Christmas and if there has been a compelling world event over the holiday season, I don’t yet know it.

Instead, railways. No, not model railways, like the magnificent replica put together by community groups in Axminster showing the line when it went all the way into Lyme Regis via Combpyne. This glorious branch travelled majestically over the 30-metre-high Cannington Viaduct, still standing if sadly inaccessible.

That grand display reminded me of the line which used to stream from a junction between Axminster and Honiton to take tens of thousands of holidaymakers every year down to Seaton via Colyton. The old bed for the line between Colyton and Seaton now supports the superb Seaton Tramway.

Further west, of course, there was the much-missed line from Feniton to Exmouth, calling at Ottery St Mary, Tipton St John, Sidmouth, Newton Poppleford, East Budleigh, Budleigh Salterton and Littleham. How would things be if all these lines were here today, perhaps electrified, part of a metro-link into Exeter?

Sadly, it’s hard to see how these lines could be restored, many now built on, and in any case prohibitively expensive. The re-opened line the other side of Exeter to Okehampton, however, does show that these things can happen.

The current reality is that there are two particular lines affecting our local lives which need urgent financing and delivery. Just across the border in Mid-Devon, it looks as if Cullompton will at last have the funds to reopen its station, closed for nearly 60 years. The economic benefits of this for both the town and the Exeter conurbation are huge, and the local MP Richard Foord has made this a central plank of his activity since being elected in the summer of 2022.

The next piece of infrastructure needed is to either dual or introduce more passing loops between Axminster and Exeter. Major settlements along the line at Honiton, Feniton, Cranbrook and Pinhoe would benefit hugely from the kind of metro-link timetabling that I mentioned above.

But with insufficient passing places, the service is thin. As a result, workers from towns within perfectly commutable distance of Exeter (and vice versa) are forced into cars. Anyone who has travelled in the morning or afternoon rush hours will testify that this is no longer viable. Exeter has also become a key hub for education and training, which young people from, for example, Axminster, should be able to get to on three to four trains an hour. We need to have this fully resolved by the end of the 2020s.

The other issue we need to look at is the sheer cost of rail travel, which is now verging on prohibitive. A week before Christmas my wife and I were looking forward to travelling up to Glasgow to see our nine months old granddaughter and would happily have let the train take the strain. But it was pretty impossible to do so for less than £200 each.

Instead, we flew from Bristol for £80 each return, paying £50 to park. I’d have much rather watched the country pass by my train window while doing some work, but that price-point is just too high. More locally, despite the almost unprecedented way that public support has stood up for striking railway workers, the regular total failure of the route to London is unacceptable. We now add to the traffic burden on the A303 when we’d much rather be on a train.

There’ll be some form of new government by this time next year. New PM, East Devon Railways, one for the top of your in-tray please.