Train commuters face changing services as flood prevention work is carried out
PUBLISHED: 14:20 01 June 2018 | UPDATED: 14:20 01 June 2018
Major engineering work on the main railway line will affect East Devon's train network next week.
The work, which is being undertaken to reduce the risk of flooding, will be carried out on the Great Western Railway (GWR) line from Exeter to Taunton between next Tuesday and Thursday.
As a result of the line closure at Cowley Bridge, some GWR trains will be diverted via Honiton and Yeovil, before re-joining their original route at Castle Cary.
The effect of this is that some South Western Railway services will be re-timed, some stops at Feniton and Whimple will be altered, and a few services will be cancelled - although one will be replaced by some passengers being able to use the diverted GWR service.
Services affected include:
• The 16:36 from Exeter to Honiton, which will be replaced by the 16:51 GWR service. This will call at Exeter St Davids, Exeter Central and Honiton only.
• The 16:24 from Exeter, which will run a minute later on these days and stop at Whimple and Feniton.
• The 17:07 from Honiton to Exeter, which will not run.
• The 18:20 from Waterloo, which will now only run as far as Yeovil. Instead the 18:50 from Waterloo will be extended from Yeovil to Exeter.
Temporary timetables issued by South Western Railway also show that a number of trains will be re-timed.
For instance, some trains to Exeter will run four minutes later.
Early morning trains to Waterloo, on the other hand, will run earlier, by up to ten minutes. Services will now leave Exeter St. David’s at 05:00, 06:32, 07:15, and 08:17.
The 06:19 from Honiton to Waterloo will, however, run at its usual time.
Further information and full details of the revised service can be found on the South Western Railway website or at local stations.
Martin Long, chairman of The Friends of Honiton Station, said: “While we welcome the essential work being carried out at Cowley Bridge to reduce the high risk of flooding on that line, it is a great shame that East Devon passengers have to put up with disruption to their normal journeys to accommodate this.
“South Western Railway has done everything they could to keep this disruption to a minimum, but this just goes to show how badly we need this line to be upgraded.
“The long sections of single track between Exeter and Salisbury make it next to impossible to add any additional trains onto the line, without causing disruption.”
The Salisbury to Exeter Rail Users’ Group (SERUG) is campaigning for a section of double track to be reinstated at Whimple, as well as other improvements at Crewkerne and Tisbury. These would allow two trains an hour to run between Exeter and Axminster, as well as allowing the railway to cope much more effectively with closures or disruptions to the line such as the one on June 12-14.
Mr Long added: “SERUG is working hard, supported by all the region’s MPs, by local councils, SWR and others, to try to bring these improvements about.
“The disruption on June 12-14 is a perfect example of why we desperately need the Whimple Loop.”