Recently there has been a lot of renewed interest in the reinstatement of the railway line between Tavistock and Okehampton, as part of a main line ‘northern route’ from Plymouth to Exeter and beyond. This has been generated by a lobby group calling themselves the ‘Northern Route Working Group’, who have been lobbying local MPs, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Heart of the South West LEP, Devon County Council, Plymouth and Devon Chamber of Commerce, Visit Cornwall, Plymouth University, Peninsula Rail Group, Tavistock Chamber of Commerce and GWR, amongst others. All seem broadly supportive of the scheme. Apparently Geoffrey Cox, our local MP, leads support for the scheme among south-west MPs.
The group is led by Andrew Roden, Editor at Steam World Magazine, and Director of the Tavistock Okehampton Reopening Scheme (TORS). He is a railway journalist and enthusiast based in Cornwall who has also contributed to the Hornby model railway magazine. They are bidding for a government ‘Restoring Your Railways Fund’ grant to develop their ideas further.
The Group propose that the new railway be a main route for not only local services, stopping in Tavistock and Okehampton, but also for main line trains to London and all large freight trains, as well as the preferred route for nuclear fuel for Plymouth dockyard. This is a significant departure from the route just being a local passenger line and occasional diversionary route when the Dawlish line is out of action and will therefore involve a great many more fast trains using the line. The Group hope that the work on the route will start by 2029.
Such a major railway will obviously have an impact on Brentor. It will probably follow the line of the old GWR railway through the Burn Valley. It will certainly change the tranquil nature of parts of our village and other villages such as Mary Tavy and Lydford. There would of course be benefits for our area, including bringing tourists to the western side of Dartmoor and making travel from Tavistock to Plymouth and Exeter much more easy and faster. There are no proposals to reinstate village stations such as Brentor for use.
If you want to find out more about the ‘Northern Route Working Group’ click here.
Also see their detailed proposals in the Group’s bid for funding from the Department for Transport’s ‘Restoring Your Railway Fund’ by clicking here