Tarka line problems

Sir – William Winkworth is not alone in his concern about the journey time of trains on the Tarka Line. The main cause is not so much the number of stations served but more because of the severe constraints imposed by the infrastructure. When BR reduced

Sir - William Winkworth is not alone in his concern about the journey time of trains on the Tarka Line. The main cause is not so much the number of stations served but more because of the severe constraints imposed by the infrastructure.

When BR reduced the line to little more than "basic railway", there was a feeling nationally that railways had had their day. Since then, demand for rail travel has risen for a host of reasons. The Tarka Line has been additionally helped by lower fares, a more frequent service and other improvements. Passenger numbers continue to grow.

The main constraint on journey times is the lack of passing places on a largely single track railway. Trains can only pass at Crediton and Eggesford and there is a set amount of time trains need to take to travel between the two. As a regular traveller, Mr Winkworth will know that waiting time at both these stations is built into the timetable for this to happen and to assist reliability.

We also seek a sub hour journey time - as do First Great Western and Devon County Council. We have spoken with Network Rail who are indeed looking at ways to reduce journey times by such measures as raising line speeds wherever possible. This may also have longer term implications for stopping patterns. We will continue to press for these and other improvements to the service such as a late evening train.


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Mr Winkworth may be interested in supporting us. He can contact us via our website www.tarkarail.org and we'd be pleased to hear from him.

John Phillips, Chairman, Tarka Rail Association

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