The Dartmoor Line: Okehampton to Exeter route reopen for first time in 50 years

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Passengers travelling in Devon can now use the railway line between Okehampton and Exeter for the first time in almost 50 years.

The Dartmoor line will reopen this week, making its first journey on Saturday (20 November).

Regular services along the route were withdrawn in 1972 but the line itself was kept open to serve a quarry that provided ballast for railways in the region.

The scheme is part of the Government's plan to reverse the controversial 'Beeching cuts' in the 1960s and reopen numerous railway lines across the country.

The route will run all year round, connecting Exeter St Davids, Crediton and Okehampton and around half of services to Exeter Central.

The re-opening is planned to help boost local businesses, the tourism sector, and provide better access to education and work for people who live locally.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps described its return as a "milestone moment" in the government's effort to restore the UK's railways.

He added: “Reversing lost railway connections breathes new life into our high streets, drives tourism and investment in businesses and housing, and opens new opportunities for work and education.”

Alongside the Department for Transport, the £40million project has involved Network Rail, GWR, Devon County Council, Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, and local campaigners and MPs.

Mark Hopwood, GWR Managing Director, said: “We have long campaigned for the re-opening of this important local line.

“The project to re-open the line is already helping to bring social and economic benefits to the local area reinforces the positive impact the railway can have on the communities we serve,” he added.

While the line will reopen on 20 November, work will continue after that date to develop the station's facilities.