Exeter to Exmouth Estuary line gets community railway status
Supporters of a Westcountry branch line hope improved services and higher passenger numbers are on the way after the route was designated a community railway by the Government.
Passengers using the picturesque Avocet line – from Exeter to Exmouth – will have more say on how the service is run following its elevation by Rail Minister Norman Baker.
The Avocet route travels along the scenic Exe Estuary, carrying tourists to the coast and providing a commuter service into the city.
It will now join other regional success stories – the St Ives Bay Line, Tamar Valley Line, Looe Valley Line, Tarka Line and Maritime Line – which number among the 18 existing Community Rail Lines.
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Mr Baker said the Avocet Line Rail Users Group and the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership would work closely with local groups to provide "innovative and more cost effective rail services for their community".
Tony Day, chairman of the Avocet Line Rail Users Group, said there was enormous support for the 150-year-old line. "They will depend on it more and more in future years, as new housing in Exmouth and the east of Exeter adds passengers to this already busy commuter railway," he added.