Reaction to Tarka Line ‘cuts’ proposals
Some rail users upset at thought of fewer stops on Barnstaple to Exeter line.
RAIL users have responded angrily to the idea of reducing the number of stops on the Tarka Line between Barnstaple and Exeter.
The new North Devon Public Transport Users called for “a radical restructuring” of the line with better trains, faster services and a focus on just three intermediate stations, part of its comments on the Government consultation over the renewal of the rail franchise.
But Jo Morrish lives near Chapelton and uses the train three times a week to travel to Bristol as part of her work for a national charity.
“By already reducing the number of times the train stops there it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy,” she said.
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“When the trains stopped more frequently a lot more people used them. I can cycle to Chapelton but now I tend to drive to Umberleigh where I can be sure it will stop.
“It will be people with the least money, young people, women or those without access to a car who won’t benefit from this.”
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“Jazz trains” on the last Sunday of each month would also be hit by fewer stops, according to band leader Steve Tucker of the All Star Jazz Band. He says more than 100 revellers travel to Eggesford and the Fox and Hounds pub for the afternoon sessions.
“Our office has been inundated with calls,” said Steve.
“It is an extremely popular event and has been for a number of years - it attracts a big loyal following and is a tourist attraction.”
Patrick Adams of North Devon Public Transport Users said according to figures published by the regulator, only 162 people a year used Chapelton.
“I am sure people would love the idea of a faster and better service, being able to get from Barnstaple to Exeter in under an hour,” he said.
“Ninety two per cent of existing users use the stations we want to keep the service to. Usage of the line would be greatly increased and subsidy from the tax payer would come down – it’s a no brainer really.”
Comments can be made on the Great Western rail consultation until March 31. To view, go to www.dft.gov.uk/consultations.