With the increasing national interest in both station and line reopenings on the national network, a partnership working group has been established to explore the possibility of reconnecting Bishops Lydeard on the West Somerset Railway to Taunton for the purpose of reinstating scheduled trains.
The partnership consists of:
The work will be in two phases initially. The first phase will be to develop a number of high-level options to identify the simple and most effective way in which the operational, signalling and infrastructure work can be accomplished and what is required to make that happen.
The second phase will be the development of an outline business case including the socio-economic case for change and the cost model.
Christian Irwin, Rail Investment Centre of Excellence Director, Network Rail said:
“Working closely with our local partners is essential to understanding the transport needs of our local communities and ensures that we develop a rail investment strategy which delivers a railway that is fit for purpose and supports the needs of our passengers and the communities we serve, now and into the future. We are pleased to be supporting this study.”
Matt Barnes, Head of Service Strategy, Great Western Railway said:
“We are delighted to work with the WSR and other partners to explore the feasibility and business case for restoring daily passenger services between Taunton and Bishops Lydeard, building on our successful trial of summer Saturday shuttle services during 2019”
Ian Harrison, Transport Adviser Heart of South West Local Enterprise Partnership said:
"Re-connecting communities to the national rail network gives residents better access to employment, services, education and training. It also improves connections to local businesses. Direct train services from Taunton will support inbound tourism to West Somerset, not least to the West Somerset Railway itself."
Steve Williams, Director of Development and External Relations West Somerset Railway PLC said:
“This work is seen by the PLC as playing a vital part in securing the long term sustainability of the West Somerset Railway. We have excellent relationships with our partners in this venture and we hope that we can develop a robust case for reconnection to Taunton that will attract the necessary support and funding to make it a reality”.
Contact points for further information
Steve Williams, Director of Development and External Relations West Somerset Railway PLC – either [email protected] or 07748-637209
Ian Harrison, Transport Adviser Heart of South West Local Enterprise Partnership
Ian Harrison [email protected] or 01392-876744