Okehampton: on 21 April 2018 the OkeRail group chartered a GWR HST to work the ‘Royal Oke’ charter from Okehampton to Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon and return. GWR provided the all-green HST set, pictured here ready to leave the service’s Dartmoor origin point. David Hunt

DEVON COUNTY Council says a feasibility study has identified two preferred options for a new station to the east of Okehampton.

The new station forms part of plans to introduce an all-year service from the town to and from Exeter (p60, February issue).

Currently Great Western Railway operates a summer Sunday Exeter to Okehampton service, with the line from Coleford Junction (near Crediton) owned by Aggregate Industries, the operator of the former Meldon Quarry site.

However, the current station is poorly sited for the town, and a new parkway station is preferred by the council to act as a railhead for the area. The council is working with GWR, AI and the Department for Transport in its attempts to introduce the new service.

Having explored nine different options for proposed station layouts, DCC suggests initial estimates indicate a cost of around £9 million for the station. One proposed option is for an island platform, with the northern face used by Exeter to Okehampton trains and the southern face a bay platform for terminating Dartmoor Railway services. An alternative would be a single-sided platform with staggered faces, with Exeter trains using the through platform on the north side and Dartmoor Railway trains using a bay platform. The Dartmoor Railway operates a heritage service to and from Meldon Quarry in summer months. The station site would also include a car park, planned to have 210 spaces, as well as a bus stop and taxi rank and track maintenance provision.

An initial visual survey has found that, while the majority of the line is in reasonable condition, some stretches would need investment before use by more frequent services.

Updated risk assessments will be needed on a number of operational level crossings on the line to make them safe for more regular services.