Hourly weekday services resume on East Devon rail link
- Credit: Tim Dixon
May 16 sees the introduction of new rail timetables across the country.
For those travelling on the East Devon Line between Axminster, Honiton and Exeter this means a welcome return to hourly weekday services for the first time since Christmas.
With fewer people travelling during the latest lockdown, trains had been cut to a two-hourly weekday service between Exeter and Salisbury. Weekend services continued to operate hourly.
Now that government restrictions are being eased, and with South Western Railway (SWR) saying that the public should: “Travel with confidence,” they are set to increase the overall number of trains they are operating to at least 85% of pre-pandemic levels.
A spokesperson for SWR said: “While passenger numbers remain relatively low compared to before the coronavirus pandemic, the increase in services will help support the reopening of the economy as more people start travelling again.”
Hourly trains will operate during most of the day between London Waterloo and Exeter, serving Axminster and Honiton. As before the lockdown, alternate trains will stop at Feniton or Whimple.
However, in a change from the timetable that operated between September and December 2020, the evening peak time services leaving Exeter at 16.25, 17.25 and 18.25 will all stop at both villages. This change had been sought by local rail campaigners, who have thanked SWR for including it in the new timetable.
The SWR spokesperson asked passengers to: “Plan ahead, spread down throughout trains to make use of all available space and consider travelling outside the peak.” Passengers were also reminded to wear face coverings at all times when at stations or on trains, unless exempt, and to sanitise their hands regularly.
Weekend services to and from stations between Axminster and Exeter continue to be affected by engineering work in the Salisbury area until the middle of June. Passengers should check SWR’s website for the latest information.
Details of the new timetable can be found on the Journey Planner feature of SWR’s website. A copy of the full timetable is also available to download.
A short cut to SWR’s website, including details of the weekend engineering work, can be found on the website of The Friends of Honiton Station, at friendsofhonitonstation.org.uk/timetables