What's happening with the track between Meldon and Okehampton?

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Devonman2014

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Are there any plan to relay track further West of Oakhampton?

If meaning towards Meldon - yes there is but Crediton to Okehampton is the priority at moment.

Oct 31st is the target finish date for the main section after which the line from Okehampton to Meldon is able to commence.
Of course nothing to say it continues straight after the main works, will be dependent on funding and if staff can continue on with the line to Meldon.
 

323235

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If meaning towards Meldon - yes there is but Crediton to Okehampton is the priority at moment.

Oct 31st is the target finish date for the main section after which the line from Okehampton to Meldon is able to commence.
Of course nothing to say it continues straight after the main works, will be dependent on funding and if staff can continue on with the line to Meldon.

Why are they intending to relay to Meldon?
 

24Grange

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But surely ,if they wanted to use the quarry, network rail would upgrade the track to their own gold plated standard before using it?
 

Amlag

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Okehampton to Meldon is not Network Rail property so if it is relaid it will be someone else's scheme in their own timings.

Every indication so far is that NR have also acquired the whole line beyond Okehampton to Meldon Viaduct Halt ( incl the run round loop but NOT the quarry sdgs ) through to the gate across the line just beyond the platform ( which then becomes the siding the buffet coach is stabled on).
 

24Grange

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That's what I thought too, Hence confusion - So if Supporters want to run from Platform 2 to Meldon Viaduct at some point in the future - they would need Network permission? which wasn't the case before? Heritgate stock would have to be of "main line" quality in this example as its would be running over NR metals
 

zwk500

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If it's locked in on its own line would this apply?
If it's on the NR network, it'd need a derogation from the ORR to permit it, but in theory you could secure one. Depends how it'd operate and what the signalling/trackwork setup at Okehampton is like.
 

Ashley Hill

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If it's on the NR network, it'd need a derogation from the ORR to permit it, but in theory you could secure one. Depends how it'd operate and what the signalling/trackwork setup at Okehampton is like.
Indeed. I was thinking along the lines of the GWR Railmotor on the Looe and Bentford branches a few years ago or the Slammers on the Lymington branch.
 

torten

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Every indication so far is that NR have also acquired the whole line beyond Okehampton to Meldon Viaduct Halt ( incl the run round loop but NOT the quarry sdgs ) through to the gate across the line just beyond the platform ( which then becomes the siding the buffet coach is stabled on).
Probably the end for the Dartmoor Railway then, as a preserved railway, which is quite sad.
 

Sean Emmett

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I would have thought that a shuttle from P2 or P3 at Okehampton to Meldon would be possible, when freight trains aren't running.

IIRC the NYMR stock permitted to run to Whitby is not up to full main line standards, but happy to be corrected.
 

Brissle Girl

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Probably the end for the Dartmoor Railway then, as a preserved railway, which is quite sad.
I guess it's an interesting debate. If an indirect consequence of a return after 50 years of a regular passenger service on the majority of a branch line is the end of any hope of a revival of an already moribund preserved railway over a relatively short section of the line, is that a price worth paying? I think it is.
 

REVUpminster

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I don't expect Meldon to reopen in the next 10/20 years unless they found Lithium on site. Any track relaying beyond Meldon is probably for an overrun to store a defective train that could be recovered in the night.
 

Devonman2014

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I don't expect Meldon to reopen in the next 10/20 years unless they found Lithium on site. Any track relaying beyond Meldon is probably for an overrun to store a defective train that could be recovered in the night.

Have been told by 3 different sources including NR and Aggregate industries “caretaker” (who checks the site security and the various pumps on site etc) that Meldon is to reopen to provide stone and ballast to HS2 and the general building industry.

Just at present no firm timescales only Okehampton takes priority.
 

221129

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I don't expect Meldon to reopen in the next 10/20 years unless they found Lithium on site. Any track relaying beyond Meldon is probably for an overrun to store a defective train that could be recovered in the night.
Absolutely not the case. Aggregate industries plan to reopen the quarry to provide ballast for HS2.
 

Ash Bridge

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Where is the ballast going to be used as pre-fabricated slab track is the preferred medium for HS2. One of the reasons HS2 costs so much. Aggregate Industries are supplying aggregate to a purpose built factory near their quarry at Shepton Mallet.

£260m HS2 contract to create hundreds of jobs | Insider Media
Possibly and I don’t know for sure but could the intention be for Meldon to supplement the ballast output that would normally come from the Mendip quarries that may be overstretched somewhat to provide a normal supply for other purposes whilst also supplying this new purpose built factory?
 

DDB

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Could it be that the track to Meldon isn't owned by Network Rail but while they have all the necessary machinery and contractors on site and supply trains scheduled they or thier contractors offered the quarry a bargin price to renew their bit as well?
 

hwl

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'Modern Railways' has a full write up on the Okehampton project in the latest edition.

1. Network Rail now own the line all the way to Meldon, including the run-round loop, but not the sidings.
2. They now own the upside station buildings, but Devon CC retain ownership of the downside.
3. The relaying will permit light DMU operation by December, but freight operation will require 'some strengthening works'.
4. Greenslade bridge, 1 mile west of North Tawton, will be replaced next year - currently a 20mph limit.
 

davetheguard

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Probably the end for the Dartmoor Railway then, as a preserved railway, which is quite sad.

Sad, yes, but countered by the fact that the line has returned to the national network; is going to be maintained to a higher standard; will have a resinstated passenger service between Exeter & Okehampton; and freight might even return to a re-opened quarry providing much needed jobs. On balance, I'd say that's a win.

With regard to Sir Felix Pole's post above, I wonder who now owns the Okehampton station footbridge - hopefully Network Rail, as occupations will be needed to do any significant future work on it? Looking at my Ordnance Survey map I assume the "to be replaced" Greenslade bridge is the one where the line crosses over the B3215.
 
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torten

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Sad, yes, but countered by the fact that the line has returned to the national network; is going to be maintained to a higher standard; will have a resinstated passenger service between Exeter & Okehampton; and freight might even return to a re-opened quarry providing much needed jobs. On balance, I'd say that's a win.
I wouldn't disagree with that, and hopefully the Dartmoor Railway Supporter Association will be allowed to continue as custodians of Okehampton Station in some capacity.
 

uglymonkey

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So Network Rail own the main ( up) building now) - That doesn't bode well for the buffet ( they have already said ( somewhere else) that the station will be "unstaffed" - perhaps it should be Okehampton Halt? :). I have seen Dartmoor railway selling tea out of an Urn or similar from the down side buildings in the past though.
 

zwk500

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So Network Rail own the main ( up) building now) - That doesn't bode well for the buffet ( they have already said ( somewhere else) that the station will be "unstaffed" - perhaps it should be Okehampton Halt? :). I have seen Dartmoor railway selling tea out of an Urn or similar from the down side buildings in the past though.
NR are much more aware of heritage concerns than generally given credit for. Although they can sometimes throw the baby out with the bathwater when insisting on safety standards, I can see an arrangement being found to let the heritage society stay involved in the upkeep of the building. 'Unstaffed' might just mean no TOC staff, rather than closing everything down. It's been shown on a number of lines that having an active business in the station helps attract custom to the railway. There's plenty of 'friends of...' groups involved in rural lines up and down the country, so there is hope.

I know nothing for sure though.
 

uglymonkey

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Wonder if NR would get the buffet to pay rent, in that case ? ( like they do other retail at stations)
 

Bald Rick

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Wonder if NR would get the buffet to pay rent, in that case ? ( like they do other retail at stations)

NR only takes the ‘rent’ at the 20 stations it manages. At the other two thousand or so the rent goes to which ever TOC manages the station.
 

zwk500

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If they end up managing the station, yes. They would be able to decide to charge commercial rent (either fixed or percentage of takings), costs or let them have it for a token amount. Or do something else entirely. GWR have a pretty good record with community groups and friends of on the West Country branches.
 
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