If you look at an older Ordnance Survey map of the UK (a most rewarding hobby) you might, like me, be surprised to see how many train lines we have lost since the motor car gained popularity in the 1950s.
The history is fascinating and Mr Beeching wasn’t entirely to blame.
But let’s forget those lost train lines for a moment. For those of us acknowledging the sustainability of effective public transport systems, there is good news.
New train stations are being opened.
Some of these, like Okehampton station (great for Dartmoor adventures) on the Dartmoor Line are stations that have been reopened but others are coming along to serve communities old and new.
I recently enjoyed a station to station walk from newly opened Marsh Barton railway station in Exeter. It’s a fabulous location for walkers and workers alike and has really opened up access to the Exeter Canal walk and cycle way.
Devon’s railways appear to be improving.
- Location: Exeter – near the Marsh Barton industrial estate but also giving step-free access to the canal and riverside trails
- Train line: London to Penzance main line
- When: Opened in July 2023
Okehampton Parkway railway station
- Location: Near the A30 on the eastern edge of Okehampton
- Train line: The Dartmoor Line
- When: Funding acquired January 2023
Edginswell railway station
- Location: Torbay (near the hospital and growing local communities
- Train line: The Riviera Line
- When: Funding issues are currently delaying this project
New railway stations are also opening in and around Bristol.
This project aims to transform rail travel in the areas around Gloucestershire, Bath, Bristol and North Somerset. It’s a big project that has been divided into phases.
Phase 1 – including the reopening of the Portishead Line and the Portway Park & Ride – now underway.
- Location: Between Shirehampton and Avonmouth
- Train line: The Severn Beach line (great for Severn Bridge adventures by train)
- When: Opened in July 2023 with improved hourly services from Bristol Temple Meads
Phase 2 – due to include:
- The reopening of the Henbury line with three new stations at Henbury, North Filton and Ashley Down
- Improved services on the Yate & Gloucester line
The Mid Cornwall Metro Project
Cornwall has seen some Levelling Up funding for rail improvements declared. At present the scheme includes a direct link between Falmouth and Newquay but the plans are not popular with everyone.
If we want to cut the amount of time we all spend in our cars, new railway lines and stations are as important as improved service frequencies and reliability.
More stations = more adventures
Whilst no new plans will ever suit everyone, I’m looking forward to visiting some of the network’s new stations. After all, the more there are, the easier it will be to plan train adventures and station to station walking routes.
I would add just one plea here. One that has a direct impact on accessibility and take-up as well as cost.
Perhaps a topic for another blog post.
Please could all new stations have toilets?