The Anonymous Widower

Dartmoor Line Passes 250,000 Journeys On Its First Anniversary, As Rail Minister Visits To Mark Official Opening Of The Station Building

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Network Rail.

These three paragraphs talk about the Dartmoor Line’s reopening.

Just over a year after the Dartmoor Line reopened to regular passenger trains, journey numbers on the line have passed 250,000 this Monday morning [28 November], with the arrival of an extra special visitor, Rail Minister, Huw Merriman MP, to officially open the renovated station building.

The line reopened on 20 November 2021, restoring a regular, year-round service for the first time in almost 50 years following more than £40m of Government investment.

The previously mothballed rail line, which runs between Okehampton and Exeter, was restored in just nine months and delivered £10m under budget, becoming the first former line to reopen under the Government’s £500m Restoring Your Railway programme.

I have a few thoughts.

A Well-Managed Project

It does appear that Network Rail upped a gear or two to fulfil this project. The press release puts it like this.

Reinstatement of the Dartmoor Line was made possible by Network Rail’s team of engineers who worked tirelessly to deliver a huge programme of work including laying 11 miles of new track and installing 24,000 concrete sleepers and 29,000 tonnes of ballast in a record-breaking 20-day period.

But it does appear that over recent months Network Rail seems to do things a lot better and quicker.

I do wonder, if on the construction side, Network Rail have been able to bring in new working practices, that they are still trying to get lots of their other workers to accept.

A Quarter Of A Million Journeys

The press release says this about passenger numbers.

In the same week as it celebrated its one-year anniversary, the Dartmoor Line also saw its 250,000th journey, showing an incredible patronage on the line and more than double the demand originally forecast.

But they still can’t get the forecasts right.

Passenger Numbers Are Still Rising

The press release says this about rising passenger numbers

Since Great Western Railway (GWR) increased services to hourly in May 2022, passenger use has continued to rise, with over 500 journeys starting at Okehampton every day and a further 300 travelling into the town from across the rail network.

Is There Still Growth To Come?

There are several zero-carbon trains under development, so why not have a civilised shoot out, with each manufacturer given say four weeks in which to show off their products in passenger service.

This would hopefully indicate, if there was more growth to come and what would be the best trains to use.


The Dartmoor Line has been shown to be a success so lets repeat the dose.



November 28, 2022 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , ,


  1. Portishead branch is next hopefully. I’d go over there and have a look at what’s still there of the trackbed if it weren’t so cold.

    Comment by Neil | November 29, 2022 | Reply

    • One thing I hope is that someone at the University of Exeter is doing a serious economic analysis of the reopening of the Dartmoor Line!

      Comment by AnonW | November 29, 2022 | Reply

  2. Interesting idea to have a low-emissions* Rainhill Trials on the line. The Dartmoor Line could be the 21st century’s Holcombe Brook branch. The big BUT, though, is the risk of breakdowns in untried equipment on a single-track line making the service unreliable. You’d certainly need a couple of refuge/cripple sidings and a manned rescue loco… which would considerably increase expense. (* No form of motive power is truly zero emission.)

    Island Line is a prime example of a crippled technological guinea pig. True, not all the failures are down to the trains, but the taxpaying & travelling public don’t care about the technicalities – all they see is more proof that railways are a very expensive ‘can’t do’ transport system. Railways are NOTHING if they are not reliable. Hopefully the South Wales test track will be one step towards dealing with this increasingly urgent issue

    Comment by Stephen Spark | November 29, 2022 | Reply

  3. […] I wrote about this success in Dartmoor Line Passes 250,000 Journeys On Its First Anniversary, As Rail Minister Visits To Mark Offi…. […]

    Pingback by Historic Northumberland Line To Reopen Next Summer « The Anonymous Widower | March 6, 2023 | Reply

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