The summer Sunday “Dartmoor Rover” train service resumed at the weekend, coinciding with the launch of the OkeRail community group.
Members of OkeRail, Great Western Railway (GWR) and Devon County Council were on board the 09.08 service from Exeter St David's to Okehampton yesterday (Sunday 15 May) which, for the first time, displayed the OkeRail logo.
OkeRail is working toward re-establishing daily passenger train services on the line between Okehampton and Exeter.
Mike Davies, Chairman of OkeRail, said: “The sizeable number of passengers boarding the train at Okehampton Station on the first train demonstrated the importance of a permanent rail link between Okehampton and Exeter. Okehampton provides a crucial connection to lots of towns and villages in the north of the county as well as North Cornwall.”
Regional Development Manager Dan Okey said: “I am delighted to announce the return of these Sunday services between Exeter and Okehampton. These four return trips on Summer Sundays demonstrates our commitment to working in partnership with Devon County Council, and the newly formed OkeRail group, in support of the local community and businesses that we serve.”
Although OkeRail is independent, Devon County Council is supporting the group with technical and strategic transport advice.
Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth, said: “The OkeRail project has empowered the community to work towards re-establishing daily train services on the existing infrastructure. The group and its aims have the full support of the County Council. The intention of the Dartmoor Rover was always to act as a catalyst to improve services and the community has galvanised to work together to meet its aspirations. Rail is a key to enabling economic growth, and this project fits in well with the County Council’s strategic and economic aims.”
Councillor Kevin Ball, Devon County Councillor for Okehampton Rural, said: “Establishing OkeRail takes us a step closer to re-introducing daily train services between Okehampton and the community has taken ownership of its aspirations to make this happen. Thanks must go to Devon County Council for continuing to part fund The Dartmoor Rover service which is always popular. If daily services could be re-introduced it will provide a huge boost to the area.”