Mel Stride

    OKEHAMPTON TOWN COUNCILLOR and Chairman of OkeRail Community Interest Company Michael Ireland met with Okehampton’s Member of Parliament today. Their meeting followed the recent announcement by Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling that the Government has instructed Great Western Railway to prepare plans to introduce regular train services between Exeter and Okehampton delivering “an all-week, all-year train service as soon as reasonably practicable”.

    Councillor Ireland updated Central Devon MP Mel Stride on meetings he attended with Travel Watch South West, the Peninsula Rail Task Force Stakeholder Advisory Group and OkeRail Forum. He also outlined OkeRail plans to run a special Royal Oke train to Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon, similar to the trip organised to London in 2017.

    Speaking after their meeting Mel said:

    “It was good to hear from Mike that the consultancy firm report looking at a number of issues regarding the return of the service including the track itself, Okehampton station and its car park, will be submitted to Devon County Council shortly. I was also very encouraged to learn that Great Western Railway specifically referenced the future Okehampton service in their future franchise plans.”

    Welcoming the plans for a one-off train to Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon, Mel added:

    “The special Royal Oke train to London last year was a brilliant event that gave local residents a memorable day and was a key opportunity for me to meet the rail minister with local campaigners when we arrived. It did a great deal to promote the campaign for the return of a rail service. I have no doubt that a second special trip will be equally successful.”

    A date for the trip it yet to be finalised but is likely to be towards the end of April. The train will leave Okehampton at approximately 7am giving between 5 and 6 hours in Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon before arriving back in Okehampton at around 9pm.

    Photo:The Rt Hon Mel Stride MP in Okehampton on Saturday being briefed by OkeRail CIC Chairman Michael Ireland on plans for a special Royal Oke train to Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon.