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Okehampton station before its closure

Dartmoor rail service returns after 49 years

REGULAR passenger services are set to be restored between Exeter and Okehampton for the first time in almost 50 years thanks to investment of £40.5m, the Government has announced.

The Department for Transport, Network Rail, and Great Western Railway (GWR) are working together to reopen the line to passengers all year round. Since 1997 the line has only been open during the summer after a regular service was withdrawn in 1972.

A Government spokesperson said: “A service will initially run every two hours later this year, with the expectation it will increase to an hourly service towards the end of 2022. This will benefit students heading to colleges in Exeter as well as tourists travelling in the other direction towards Okehampton for Dartmoor, easing congestion on local roads.

“This is the first project to see services restored under the Government’s Restoring Your Railway fund, launched in January 2020 to reinstate axed local services and restore closed stations.

“The fund is focused on delivering schemes which can level up the country, reinvigorating high streets, reconnecting cut-off communities and boosting opportunity across the country.”

The Government has also announced £37.4m of funding for the critical third phase of work to improve resilience on the coastal railway between Holcombe and Dawlish. This is in addition to a £341m package of rail enhancements already committed across the South West.

For more information about the Dartmoor Line visit www.dartmoorline.com

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