The Anonymous Widower

Strategic Outline Business Case Submitted For Reopening Tavistock To Plymouth Rail Line

The title of this post, is the same as that of this news topic on the Devon County Council web site.

This is the sub-heading for the news item.

The Strategic Outline Business Case for the reopening of the Tavistock to Plymouth rail line has been submitted.

These three paragraphs outline the proposal.

Our submission to the Government’s Restoring Your Railway programme sets out the rationale for reopening the line between Bere Alston and Tavistock.

The scheme would reinstate approximately five miles of track and deliver a new single platform station at Tavistock, which would serve around 21,000 residents of Tavistock, Horrabridge, Lamerton, and Mary Tavy.

An hourly Tavistock-Plymouth service would stop at Bere Alston, Bere Ferrers and the west Plymouth stations, while maintaining the existing two-hourly service between Plymouth and Gunnislake.

I have a few thoughts.

The Connection At Bere Alston Station

This OpenRailwayMap shows the track layout at Bere Alston station.


  1. Bere Alston station is indicated by the blue arrow.
  2. The line between Bere Alston and Tavistock goes East from Bere Alston station and is shown as a black dotted line.
  3. The single-track Tamar Valley Line between Plymouth and Gunnislake stations, is shown in yellow.
  4. Tamar Line trains reverse in Bere Alston stations.
  5. Plymouth is to the South.
  6. Gunnislake is to the North.

It would appear to be a simple connection.

The Route Between Bere Alston Station And Tavistock

This OpenRailwayMap shows the route between Bere Alston Station And Tavistock.


  1. Bere Alston station is indicated by the blue arrow.
  2. The single-track Tamar Valley Line between Plymouth and Gunnislake stations, is shown in yellow.
  3. Tavistock is in the North-East corner of the map.
  4. The dotted line between Bere Alston and Tavistock shows the route of the proposed reopened railway.

The new railway follows the route of a railway that closed in 1968.

These two  paragraphs from the Wikipedia entry for Tavistock North station, describe the state of the railway between Tavistock North and Bere Alston stations.

The station building has been restored and converted into three self-catering cottages. The stationmaster’s house is being restored as a private dwelling, while the goods yard, now known as Kilworthy Park, houses the offices of West Devon Borough Council. The track bed for about one mile (1.6 km) south of Tavistock North station is open to the public as a footpath and nature reserve, and it is possible to walk across the viaducts that overlook the town.

The rest of the track bed south of Tavistock is almost intact to Bere Alston, where it joins the present-day Tamar Valley Line. There has been discussion regarding the re-opening of a rail link for a number of years. Engineering assessment has shown that the track bed, and structures such as bridges and tunnels, are in sound condition.

It doesn’t appear that restoring the track will be the most challenging of tasks.

But it does appear that extending the railway to the former Tavistock North station, would be a very challenging task indeed.

The Proposed Station At Tavistock

This OpenRailwayMap shows the track as it runs through Tavistock to the former Tavistock North station.


  1. The former railway is shown as a dotted line running diagonally SW-NE across the map.
  2. The former Tavistock North station is shown in the North-East corner of the map.
  3. This railway turns South as it leaves the town.
  4. The single-platform station will be built, where the railway crosses the A390.
  5. Another former railway passes through the town to the South-East, that passes through the former Tavistock South. station.

Between the former Tavistock North station and the A390 is now the Tavistock Viaduct Walk, which is about a mile long.

This Google Map shows where the track-bed of the old railway approaches the A390.



  1. The green scar of the former railway approaching from the South.
  2. The A390 running diagonally across the map.
  3. The plans only include a one-platform station, which I suspect is all that will fit.

Could this be a station without car-parking?

There’s not much space to put it!

Will It Be Possible To Extend From Tavistock To Okehampton?

The Line between Bere Alston and Tavistock North stations used to extend to Okehampton and train operators and  Local Authorities are keen to provide a new link, in case the railway gets washed away again at Dawlish.

It’s not so much for passengers, as coaches can be used between Okehampton and Bodmin Parkway stations along the A30.

But an alternative route for freight is needed.

I would hope that the new Tavistock station will be capable of being modified, so that trains can run between Plymouth and Okehampton stations.

What Class Of Train Will Be Used Between Plymouth And Tavistock?

As a Class 150 train is used from Plymouth to Gunnislake, I suspect a Class 150 train will be used.

But the station will probably be long enough for a five-car Class 802 train.

January 1, 2023 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. The business case is here

    They say 67-97m which seems pretty cost effective although whether NR has underwritten that isn’t clear. Personally pretty though the run upto Gunnislake is its extremely slow and must be expensive to maintain better to abandon and run upto Tavistock instead.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | January 1, 2023 | Reply

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