Rail investment in final design stage at last

PUBLISHED: 13:51 16 January 2008 | UPDATED: 21:27 15 June 2010

AN hourly train service to London, once just a dream for many commuters using rail services on the Waterloo line, has been brought a step closer to becoming reality. Network Rail announced last week that it is in the final stages of design a 'loop' scheme

AN hourly train service to London, once just a dream for many commuters using rail services on the Waterloo line, has been brought a step closer to becoming reality.Network Rail announced last week that it is in the final stages of design a 'loop' scheme that will allow more trains to run from London to Exeter. A new three-mile track will be installed alongside the existing single-line railway at Axminster to provide a passing loop for trains running on the line.The enhancement to the railway will enable South West Trains to meet their franchise commitment to run an hourly service between London Waterloo and Exeter. Town councils across East Devon, along with Devon County Council, are strongly in favour of the proposal and hope the track improvement will one day lead to a half hourly shuttle service between Axminster and Honiton. A second loop at Whimple will need to be constructed to make this possible.Design work will focus on the laying of track approximately a mile and a half either side of Axminster Station and the introd-uction of a new signal-ling system. Under the plans, the station itself will see a new platform constructed, together with a footbridge. The design of the loop will also take into account potential future enhancements on the line. Network Rail's Wessex route director David Pape said: "We are committed to further developing this project, which aims to provide more trains on the West of England Line, thus delivering the growth that will encourage more people to use the railway. "We are now taking forward the design of the project and will continue to work hard to progress these improvements." Network Rail is the 'not for dividend' owner and operator of Britain's railway infrastructure, which includes the tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges, viaducts, level crossings and stations.

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