Full steam ahead for Ilfracombe land train

A Dotto land train, similar to one which should be on the streets of Ilfracombe this November after

A Dotto land train, similar to one which should be on the streets of Ilfracombe this November after councillors gave it a green light to the project. - Credit: Archant

ILFRACOMBE is on track to receive a land train this autumn after North Devon Council approved the project last night (Wednesday).

The Dotto brand train is set to arrive in November and will be able to carry up to 50 people around the town.

The likely route will take in the swimming pool, harbour, seafront and High Street areas.

It is hoped that as well as proving an attraction in its own right, the train will help to get more visitors around Ilfracombe and even help reduce traffic congestion or parking problems.

In her report to a special meeting of the executive committee yesterday, Sally Nelson, senior regeneration officer at the council, said it would help ensure the increased footfall brought about by Verity benefits the whole town.

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She said the train was being ordered with two carriages and could cope with steep gradients in Ilfracombe of up to 20 per cent (one in five), and had a very tight turning circle.

It follows a successful £163,000 bid to the EU Leader 4 programme, and the district council has agreed to provide a temporary loan to pay for the train.

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This amount will be repaid to the council when the Leader 4 funding comes through in March next year. The council is also adding a further £9,000 from money set aside for economic development.

Plans for a trackless train were shelved in 2010, but now the town looks set to become the first in North Devon to have a Dotto, a brand made in Italy and similar to those found in similar to those in Torquay or Bournemouth,

Executive member for development in Ilfracombe, Councillor Mike Edmunds, said it ‘superb news for the town’:

“This is the latest in a number of projects that we hope are going to really boost the visitor experience in Ilfracombe, which can only be a good thing for local residents and businesses alike.”

Local ward member, Councillor Paul Yabsley, added: “I’m particularly excited by this project as this is something we’ve been working on for four years, so it’s nice to see it come to fruition.”

The council will now be seeking an operator for the train and the exact route will be decided in consultation with Devon County Council Highways, the police and others.

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