Rail loop needed

PUBLISHED: 07:10 27 April 2013


I work for First Great Western, and I have just read your article on the front of the Exmouth Herald about rail investment.

Numbers on the Exmouth to Exeter line have increased tremendously in the last ten years.

The issue is that the majority of the increase has occurred between 7am and 9am heading to Exeter, and 4pm and 6pm doing the return trip.

Increased capacity for those times can only be achieved by putting in a passing loop at Lympstone. As for services outside these times, it doesn’t matter how many carriages you run, if the station platforms don’t have the length to take them, they are almost wasted running.

Sunday services are hourly, which is plenty of trains to serve the capacity. You get extreme passenger numbers, due to sunny weather, but these never exceed demand.

There might be a squeeze from time to time, but try getting into Exmouth by car in the summer. Rolling stock in the rush hour is not the issue, laying a passing loop for more frequent services is.

I have had several meetings with people from the Department for Transport, and they have told me that there will be no upgrade in the A376 in the next 10 years, and are looking at reopening the second platform at Exmouth (adjacent to platform one, estuary car park side) or a passing loop at Lympstone, to increase rush hour traffic to a train every 20 minutes instead of every 30.

As much as I admire ALRUG, and they have the line at heart, they are way off what would serve the line best.

We all want a healthy branch from Exeter, but repeatedly going on about extra carriages is not the answer ... a small investment in infrastructure is.

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