Login Register
 °

New train fills the gap after Dawlish disaster

By Plymouth Herald  |  Posted: February 22, 2014

By KEITH ROSSITER Political Reporter @krossiter

Waves continue to batter the Dawlish coastline. Picture by Richard Austin

Waves continue to batter the Dawlish coastline. Picture by Richard Austin

Comments (24)

A NEW train service will give rail passengers an extra hour in London while the Dawlish sea wall is repaired.

First Great Western has announced that from Monday it will be adding a 21.35 weekday service from London Paddington to Plymouth and the South West.

The new service will run until the rail line at Dawlish is repaired and First Great Western is able to reinstate its sleeper service.

The extra train will call at Reading, Taunton, Tiverton Parkway at 11.33pm, and Exeter St Davids at 11.51pm, with a connecting executive coach service from Tiverton Parkway to Plymouth and Cornwall.

Related content

Coaches, which will be for customers from the 21.35 only, will leave from Tiverton Parkway at 11.40pm calling at Plymouth at 12.55am, and then on to stops in Bodmin Parkway, Bodmin town centre, Truro and finishing at Penzance at 3.25am.

There will also be a direct coach between Exeter St Davids and Newton Abbot, departing 11.59pm and arriving at 12.30am.

Alison Seabeck MP for Plymouth Moor View, said: “I am delighted First Great Western has listened to concerns raised by people in Plymouth.

“Putting on this additional train shows Plymouth is open for business and FGW deserves credit for acting to support the city.”

David Parlby, chief executive of Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, said the new service would be helpful.

“For example, I am in London next week and will have to drive because my meeting won’t be finished until after 8.30pm.”

FGW general manager west David Crome said: “I am delighted that we can offer this additional service, allowing customers to travel from London to the South West late into the evening while the sleeper service is unable to operate.

“The sleeper will be back once Network Rail completes the work at Dawlish and until then we will do everything we can to minimise disruption to our customers’ journeys.”

Read more from West Briton

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters

24 comments

  • hstmtu4000  |  February 24 2014, 10:10AM

    Despite the spin by FGW, the Herald headline should of read of course "Yet another New train boost to the already well rail served Exeter while Plymouth and Cornwall get a coach" Oh dear. Its very hard not to come to the conclusion that even before Dawlish the main rail route west of Exeter/Newton abbot was already being quietly "allowed" to run down to the status of a 55/60mph secondary line. Therefore worryingly it doesn't really make economic sense to run expensive to buy and maintain 125mph capable high speed trains west of Exeter to Plymouth and Cornwall on a rail route which a local Westcountry TV presenter interviewing Network Rail in London last week called a "Thomas the Tank Engine route". The next move could well be to use much lower top speed trains (75/90mph) between Penzance/Plymouth and Exeter because that's the absolute maximum line speeds the virtually all the current rail route will ever allow west of Exeter. Beware, "Thames Turbo diesel Trains" (class 165/166) released by Great Western electrification post 2017/18 will then be coming our way and their 90mph top speed would fit the bill perfectly! The loss of our airport was bad enough at the time but the ongoing loss of the already inadequate Dawlish rail route with no real real hope of any improvement to it for the foreseeable future is becoming like a Hollywood disaster move for Plymouth economic hopes. I was speaking to a couple from Trowbridge in Wiltshire yesterday in Weatherspoons on their first ever day trip to Plymouth who were staying for the weekend at Lifton, and sadly they were not impressed with the city centre saying that it "looked tired, outdated and run down" and even the "modern bit" they didn't like. They then said they planned to go to Exeter today which in turn lead to them to remark "well Exeter is the end of civilisation really isn't it". That's what we in Plymouth are now up against. It going to take some pretty impressive investment in our transport links and city centre to get the attention of the outside world now which sadly I don't really see happening for the foreseeable future.

  • A_P_Bruton  |  February 24 2014, 8:14AM

    @Willems, 1,500 signatures on the Government petition so far is a good start (about 100 per day, link here for those yet to sign: http://tinyurl.com/oxk5f66 ), but maintaining that level of support is crucial. Did you check out the Facebook page? (Link here: http://tinyurl.com/oke-rail .) "Sharing" the link to the petition that is on the Facebook gets the message to all your friends, who might then "share" it with all theirs! (Plus they may also sign the petition too!)

    |   -1
  • Nikgee  |  February 23 2014, 2:40PM

    Before the privatisation of the railways there used to be a train that ran at 23.59 back to Plymouth, which enabled all those on a cheap day return ticket to have a good day and night in the smoke. Just before privatisation, the powers that be shifted the departure time by two minutes (no prizes for guessing which way) making the overnight train very unpopular. This then made the service redundant. Then there was the cheap bus service which took over (£4.50 for a return ticket) but the government put paid to that with the tax hikes on the fuel costs. What's the solution? I have no idea... but I am open to some if anyone has got any. Privatisation has not worked for the national purpose, and now we cannot afford to go back to the nationalised networks

    |   2
  • Nikgee  |  February 23 2014, 2:25PM

    The transport links to the southwest will never be nothing more than a bone of contention. I said the other day that the government doesn't care about the southwest.... and a few hours isn't going to make much difference. However, from a military point of view it is disastrous. What do I mean by that? With only one train line and only two major roads leaves it a bit suseptable. I have always believed in alternatives must be essential to maintain supplies. Having the A38 clogged up with coaches running a shuttle service for a county and a half is not an option. As scenic as the railtrack is, it certainly is not the most efficient route on offer. A tunnel through Haldon Hill must be the most realistic option, as expensive as it may well be... a new railway needs to be constructed. HS2 does not need to be created... not while a large part of the country is struggling.

    |   5
  • hstmtu4000  |  February 23 2014, 2:24PM

    I am not surprised at the relatively low numbers signing petitions to get the 56 mile Okehampton route reopened for what would essentially be for very occasional diversions and a very limited local rail market. To the treasury "bean counters" it would be like asking the government to use the old closed and partially obstructed Great Central rail route for HS2. IF your going to spend large sums of limited public money now in Devon it has to be where it primarily serves the far bigger South Devon, Plymouth and Cornish rail market in the 21st century and that means primarily finding a "south Devon" solution to the regions rail problems first, then by all means reopen the Okehampton route if its financially feasible. The last thing the south west needs are two long slow and sinuous rail routes. This may not be a popular view in some quarters but its a logical one. That being said of course it will inevitably boil down to a political fudge of some sort no doubt so who knows.

  • John_Ply  |  February 23 2014, 2:08PM

    There are doubtless, many readers and commentators here that, have a better understanding of the topography, practicalities and the railway routes involved; in order to bring the Westcountry railway route out of the Victorian era, with regard to Dawlish than myself. From my personal point of view, I cannot help thinking that, pursuing both the Tavistock route, or the Dawlish route, as a first option, is very short sighted and misguided. At the present time, we have a unique opportunity, to press for a better railway network in this area, brought about, by the events at Dawlish. Once this fault has been rectified, for whichever route is taken, the opportunity is not likely to present itself again, any time soon and possibly for future generations. I also think that given these two main options that, the Dawlish route is most likely to succeed, based on the present existence of the railway, population density and vested interest. We are also divided, and not speaking with one voice, by having these two main options on the table. I would tend to agree with Alison Seabeck MP, in her call for a tunnel under Haldon Hill (See Link). This could be an initially expensive option, but would solve the Dawlish problem, speed up trains from Exeter to Newton Abbot and is future proofed by way of its direct route between the two stations. Other improvements may have to be made between Newton Abbot and Plymouth, but one of the main obstacles, causing such an indirect route, would have been removed. In years to come, when HS2 has been built and high-speed lines have been established in other parts of the country, our railway system could, still be deemed by the powers that be, as adequate for our needs. We need to seize the opportunity we have been given, speak with one voice, and get the best option for future generations of, Plymouth and Cornwall. http://tinyurl.com/k6ucfeb

    |   2
  • elleyc  |  February 23 2014, 1:51PM

    Let's face it the government has more problems than it can deal with any time soon and an efficient rail link to Cornwall is not going to be high on its list! Given the fact that its policy is to reduce public spending in an attempt to control the spiralling national debt, it is now faced with an incalculable cost for flood damage nation wide and a future amount to be spent on prevention. As hstmtu4000 has pointed out, successive governments have asset stripped the country following policies of deregulation and light handed government to the demands of the free market selling off our essential infrastructure and services to all and sundry who demand a high return for their services. When it goes wrong, just like in the financial sector, the tax payer has to foot the bill. Whatever rail service we are left with will be cobbled together and even more expensive to use.

  • willems  |  February 23 2014, 12:38PM

    Thank you,AP Bruton. I followed up the link,and signed,but even that petition had less than 1500 signatures. Buck up people,if there is any chance of improved travel connections in the SW,you need to get weaving.

  • hstmtu4000  |  February 23 2014, 11:19AM

    nick113 Consider this then, There is a product that the government has to have but is hopelessly uneconomic for the private sector to produce profitably. So the government itself then pays to built a factory and install all the necessary machinery and cover the overheads required to make the product. It also sets the price that the product can sold for while at the same time retaining ownership of that factory and its facilities. The government then issues tenders to the private sector to bid to run but not own this heavily subsidised operation for the government on a day to day basis knowing that it is a largely unprofitable on one hand but that the private sector has to make a profit on the other hand too. That means it cannot pass on the full cost of the operation to the private sector in order to "privatise" it, meaning an ongoing heavy public subsidy. The private sector winner of the tendering process then get a subsidised contract for a set number of years to run the operation which guarantees their profit margin at tax payers expense. That in a nutshell is Rail privatisation and as you can see there is not much privatisation involved which is why the railways are still so political even 20 odd years after they were "privatised". ALL the key investment decisions both for new trains and for infrastucture are still made by government not the private sector. Even British Rail, warts and all, had more freedom to run the railways than the private sector does today and did it a lot cheaper too. You must have noticed since Dawlish how all eyes automatically turn to the politicians and not the Train operating companies. Back in the real rail world, what all this means is that the government tells TOCs like First Great Western Trains how much the government will spend on the infrastructure, what types of train they can run, how many trains they can run and specificies the timetable they have to run those trains to. All this is in their franchise agreement in small print. The trains themselves are leased from train leasing companies for the term of the franchise contract, they never own them. That is in essence is Rail Franchising in 2014 for what its worth. As for HS2 I am not opposed to it as such, indeed I support it in principal because this country does needs to look to the future not the past. What I am opposed to is the blatant disregard of the south west rail links in a region which has the second lowest spending per head of population of any region in Britain and that is unacceptable now particularly since Dawlish has highlighted the fragility and lack of investment in our main rail link. End off.

  • hstmtu4000  |  February 23 2014, 11:15AM

    nick113 Consider this then, There is a product that the government has to have but is hopelessly uneconomic for the private sector to produce profitably. So the government itself then pays to built a factory and install all the necessary machinery and cover the overheads required to make the product. It also sets the price that the product can sold for while at the same time retaining ownership of that factory and its facilities. The government then issues tenders to the private sector to bid to run but not own this heavily subsidised operation for the government on a day to day basis knowing that it is a largely unprofitable on one hand but that the private sector has to make a profit on the other hand too. That means it cannot pass on the full cost of the operation to the private sector in order to "privatise" it, meaning an ongoing heavy public subsidy. The private sector winner of the tendering process then get a subsidised contract for a set number of years to run the operation which guarantees their profit margin at tax payers expense. That in a nutshell is Rail privatisation and as you can see there is not much privatisation involved which is why the railways are still so political even 20 odd years after they were "privatised". ALL the key investment decisions both for new trains and for infrastucture are still made by government not the private sector. Even British Rail, warts and all, had more freedom to run the railways than the private sector does today and did it a lot cheaper too. You must have noticed since Dawlish how all eyes automatically turn to the politicians and not the Train operating companies. Back in the real rail world, what all this means is that the government tells TOCs like First Great Western Trains how much the government will spend on the infrastructure, what types of train they can run, how many trains they can run and specificies the timetable they have to run those trains to. All this is in their franchise agreement in small print. The trains themselves are leased from train leasing companies for the term of the franchise contract, they never own them. That is in essence is Rail Franchising in 2014 for what its worth. As for HS2 I am not opposed to it as such, indeed I support it in principal because this country does needs to look to the future not the past. What I am opposed to is the blatant disregard of the south west rail links in a region which has the second lowest spending per head of population of any region in Britain and that is unacceptable now particularly since Dawlish has highlighted the fragility and lack of investment in our main rail link. End off.

    |   -1

      YOUR COMMENTS AWAITING MODERATION

       
       
       

      MORE NEWS HEADLINES