Devon submits Tavistock Outline Business Case

Shillamill Viaduct, between Bere Alston and Tavistock

Devon County Council has submitted the Outline Business Case for reopening the five-mile-long railway between Bere Alston and Tavistock. It is seeking £3 million to develop the next stage of the business case.

The bid secured Restoring your Railways funding and reopening to the heavily congested market town has been a longstanding ambition for Devon County Council. A new station just south of the A390 road on the western edge of Tavistock is proposed – further away from the town centre than either of the two previous stations of Tavistock North and West, whose sites have been redeveloped or are in other uses.

If approved, an hourly service from Plymouth calling at Devonport, Keyham, St Budeaux, Bere Ferrers, Bere Alston (where Gunnislake trains currently reverse) and Tavistock is proposed. Forecasts suggest almost 400,000 passengers a year could use Tavistock station.

The reopening forms part of a long-term three-phase plan by Devon County Council to reopen the former London & South Western Railway Exeter-Okehampton-Tavistock-Plymouth route in full. The first phase, from Exeter to Okehampton, opened in 2021 and passenger numbers have significantly exceeded forecasts.

Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport Andrea Davis said: ‘This is the next major milestone in this project and we’re urging the Government to back us in making further progress. There is a strong case for this rail link to be reinstated. It will provide value for money and will be key in tackling congestion on the A386. Establishing sustainable transport options between Tavistock and Plymouth offers huge benefits for the environment and will help meet our carbon reduction targets while supporting the economy and local communities.’