Mel Stride

    OKERAIL Chairman Mike Davies, Devon County Councillor Kevin Ball and Central Devon MP Mel Stride met with Transport Minister Jo Johnson today to discuss progress with plans for a regular passenger rail service between Okehampton and Exeter via Crediton. Mr Stride, who organised the meeting said he wanted to “keep up the momentum” of the campaign and avoid any unnecessary delays. 

    Speaking afterwards Cllr. Davies said:  

    “I explained to the minister that we were keen to ensure that the government’s eye remains firmly fixed on this project while Great Western Railway undertake feasibility studies and that it would be very helpful if the Department for Transport could respond to the studies promptly when completed.” 

    Mr Johnson promised that the DfT would act on the GWR feasibility studies quickly and would make the announcement of a start date for the service a priority.  

    Cllr Ball said: 

    “From a Devon County Council perspective there are key aspects of the plans which can’t be progressed until a start date is given so securing a commitment from the minister that this will be done as soon as possible was a big step forward.” 

    Currently there is just one rail route into South Devon and Cornwall which runs south of Exeter to Plymouth via Dawlish and Newton Abbot, leaving tens of thousands of residents in West Devon up to an hour’s drive from their nearest station. Mr Stride, Cllr Davies and Cllr Ball have campaigned with others for the best part of a decade to rectify this and deliver a valuable service that will also provide a major boost to the region’s economy.