Great, but when?
PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 May 2014
The response by First Great Western (FGW) ‘We’re committed to improving line’ in last week’s Journal gives a welcome public commitment to bring forward plans for a seven-day ‘Devon Metro’ timetable, including two trains per hour between Paignton and Exmouth every day.
This matches the aspirations of the rail user group for the line and is good to know, but the question is when will it be achieved?
A seven-day half hourly service is said by FGW to be a “longer term” ambition – and that in the shorter term this is not possible with the availability of existing rolling stock.
The shortage of diesel trains is a national issue, but one which adversely affects Exmouth passengers here and now, through too frequent cancellations.
With passenger numbers growing and a new station opening on the line this year at Newcourt, the service will be under increasing pressure long before additional trains become available in 2017 as a result of electrification elsewhere.
The Avocet Line Rail Users Group (ALRUG) has written to the Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP seeking Government facilitation of efforts to provide suitable rolling stock in the short term.
ALRUG will continue to work with FGW to find ways of achieving improvements to our local rail services.
Chairman, Avocet Line Rail Users Group