MPs back Network Rail plans which could introduce a ‘Devon Metro’ train service

Neil Parish and Simon Jupp have backed calls for a Devon Metro. Pictures: (Axminster train station)

Neil Parish and Simon Jupp have backed calls for a Devon Metro. Pictures: (Axminster train station) Terry Ife (Neil Parish) Terry Ife (Simon Jupp) London Portrait Photographer DAV - Credit: Archant

The MPs for Tiverton and Honiton and East Devon have given their support to a proposal which would see the creation of a ‘Devon Metro’ train service.

The Devon Metro would be an hourly Axminster to Exeter St David’s service that calls at all stations and could be extended to Barnstaple.

It comes as part of Network Rail’s recommended improvements for the Exeter to Waterloo Line which currently receives regular complaints of overcrowding.

Network Rail’s plan, which is known a Continuous Modular Strategic Planning report (CMSP), would also see an extension of the Honiton Loop westward for up to 3km, a new loop in the Whimple and Cranbrook area, an additional platform at Cranbrook Station and an extension to the existing Tisbury Loop.

However, any plans would need approval from the Government, and groups such as Salisbury to Exeter Rail Users’ Group have encouraged MPs to put pressure on the Minister of Transport to ensure the process continues at a speedy pace.

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Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish said: “Network Rail’s plan for the Exeter to Waterloo route is hugely encouraging, identifying the key issues with the line and coming up with viable solutions.

“Faster travel times between East Devon and Waterloo are much needed, as is better connectivity around the greater Exeter area, using the Devon Metro to improve local services between Axminster, Honiton and Exeter.

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“With growth in housing and employment in the region, there is a clear business case for more public transport investment. “I will be making that very case to the Transport Minister, who I know is working hard to reverse the Beeching cuts and invest in clean, green, public transport to connect our towns and spread opportunity.”

Simon Jupp, MP for East Devon, said: “We must continue to invest to improve our railway network in the South West to keep the region connected and competitive.

“I have written to the Secretary of State for Transport to support the new proposals which would improve connectivity and boost our economy in East Devon. I am already working with MPs in the region and Devon County Council to push for this investment.”

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