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Work on Okehampton Line: progress updates

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Brush 4

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Are the public announcements of funding for an infrastructure project made weeks or even months after the actual decision has been made? The least vague mention for Okehampton has been 'early 2021' for a funding decision. So, why are NR and their contractor Quattro working on the line if there is no go-ahead and therefore, uncertainty as to any reopening? https://www.quattroplant.co.uk/index.php/services/rail-division

NR have built a compound in the car park at Okehampton station as shown below. The site was the loco shed and the outline of the 70' turntable pit can be seen, plus a solid concrete stop block, one of 2 still intact there. They are now inspecting bridges along the line, clearing away much undergrowth to gain access, as shown. Would they be going to all this trouble and expense if the funding was not confirmed behind the scenes, unofficially? 002.JPGOke bridge 1.jpgOke bridge 2.jpg
 
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Bald Rick

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This will be advance work, for which a separate advance authority will have been granted. Indeed it may well be part of the development funding, to ascertain exactly how much it will cost to run a full service. Yo7 don’t want to ask for £x, then find several bridges need rebuilding and it’s now £2x. So, yes, ‘they’ would go to this much trouble without a final investment decision.
 

bluenoxid

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Have the ownership issues for this line been resolved or are they working on the Network Rail section?
 

Brush 4

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They are working on the Coleford to Okehampton section, which has been privately owned. Not sure who owns it now but, legal issues tend to take ages to resolve. New sleepers recently delivered and loaded for use down the line. Photos by Sue BaxterSleepers.jpgSleepers loaded.jpg
 
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tompatt

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The plan is to have it open by May 2021, this came from NR route asset manager for the SW
 

northernbelle

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It's a loose date - much more a case of "it's done when it's done", but some time in 2021 is a pretty reasonable assumption.
 

BarryD

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Isn't this track work principally to allow trains to access the re-opened Meldon Quarry?
 

Bald Rick

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There's a rumour going around suggesting reopening Meldon Quarry to produce ballast for HS2 but there's no hard evidence confirming or denying this.

Interesting, especially as HS2 is almost entirely slab track!
 

Ashley Hill

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Interesting, especially as HS2 is almost entirely slab track!

As I said it's only a rumour. There's nothing left at Meldon as all the equipment has long gone. I imagine the cost of resurrecting it would be prohibitive. There was also a rumour a while ago that a company wanted to build holiday homes there,that rumour came to nought.
 

Cowley

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As I said it's only a rumour. There's nothing left at Meldon as all the equipment has long gone. I imagine the cost of resurrecting it would be prohibitive. There was also a rumour a while ago that a company wanted to build holiday homes there,that rumour came to nought.
I’ve heard rumours too, and that it involved taking mobile crushing plants up there.
Knowing how stringent Dartmoor National Park planning laws are though I’d be very surprised if anything came of it but you never know.
 

Amlag

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Aggregate Industries (part of the vast Lafarge Holcim company) have previously granted permission from the Dartmoor Nat. Park Authority to extract a further 6 million tonnes of stone.

The Quarry was mothballed ( in about 2013 ) and retained for possible future needs.

There is a permanent presence at MQ by a firm called RIGS who run a safey training business there for Quarry workers from a very wide area.

Any future quarrying at Meldon would likely use mobile crushing plant.
 

Taunton

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What a shame then that Okehampton station is nowhere near the town, it's right out by the bypass, where the line runs along a shoulder of Dartmoor. It may have the longest Station Road in the country, seems like 1 in 6 all the way up. Bet they put in bicycle stands :)
 

Brush 4

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This comment from the NR Chief Exec "Okehampton: we are saying it can have regular scheduled services on that line within the next calendar year." seems to at least imply that public funding announcements are indeed made long after the actual decision. If not then he has made a reckless comment pre-empting any final decision, which may not after all, give the green light. Money wasted as well on work done so far..
 

The exile

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This comment from the NR Chief Exec "Okehampton: we are saying it can have regular scheduled services on that line within the next calendar year." seems to at least imply that public funding announcements are indeed made long after the actual decision. If not then he has made a reckless comment pre-empting any final decision, which may not after all, give the green light. Money wasted as well on work done so far..
Not that “regular scheduled services” has to mean that much. After all, Pilning, Teesside Airport, Denton etc all have regular scheduled services- just not frequent ones. One return service a year would be regular and scheduled as long as it appeared in a timetable and ran on the same date every year!
 

Bald Rick

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Not that “regular scheduled services” has to mean that much. After all, Pilning, Teesside Airport, Denton etc all have regular scheduled services- just not frequent ones. One return service a year would be regular and scheduled as long as it appeared in a timetable and ran on the same date every year!

Indeed. It doesn’t say ‘frequent’ or ‘quick’.
 

mcmad

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This comment from the NR Chief Exec "Okehampton: we are saying it can have regular scheduled services on that line within the next calendar year." seems to at least imply that public funding announcements are indeed made long after the actual decision. If not then he has made a reckless comment pre-empting any final decision, which may not after all, give the green light. Money wasted as well on work done so far..
All the quote above means is NR think they can get a service up and running before Dec 21 once funding is agreed?
 

Doctor Fegg

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What a shame then that Okehampton station is nowhere near the town, it's right out by the bypass, where the line runs along a shoulder of Dartmoor. It may have the longest Station Road in the country, seems like 1 in 6 all the way up. Bet they put in bicycle stands :)
I hope they do, given that it's on the very popular Devon Coast-to-Coast and Tour de Manche cycle routes.
 
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Interestingly the bridge cleared of ivy in Post #1 is Tors Road (by the former military sidings) on the Meldon side of Okehampton station. Maybe there is something in the quarry reopening rumour, or is it to enable all the rolling-stock stored there to be moved?
 

Brush 4

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'Not that “regular scheduled services” has to mean that much. After all, Pilning, Teesside Airport, Denton etc all have regular scheduled services- just not frequent ones. One return service a year would be regular and scheduled as long as it appeared in a timetable and ran on the same date every year. '

Predictable responses but, do you really think that is what he means?
 

Train Maniac

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I think its a shame that more people on a Rail Forum cant be excited at the prospect of a relatively easy fix reopening. I for one am looking forward to it :)
I just hope traffic levels can get back to normal(ish) in time for it to be worth it
 

Gathursty

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Nothing is certain when it comes to the railways no matter how high up the person in NR is who is being quoted. It's good news something is being done for Okehampton but I'll just assume it's simple maintenance and not anything more fanciful to not get my hopes up.
 

Clarence Yard

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It's work to get the line back up to NR passenger standards as it has fallen into a bit of a state in recent years. The DfT will decide when to release any news about any re-opening to regular traffic.
 

Gathursty

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It's work to get the line back up to NR passenger standards as it has fallen into a bit of a state in recent years. The DfT will decide when to release any news about any re-opening to regular traffic.
That would be my interpretation of simple maintenance. I was a passenger on the line on a GWR service in summer 2019 and the line was only locked up a couple of months ago. It can't be too far off 'passenger standards' already?
 

DynamicSpirit

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What a shame then that Okehampton station is nowhere near the town, it's right out by the bypass, where the line runs along a shoulder of Dartmoor. It may have the longest Station Road in the country, seems like 1 in 6 all the way up. Bet they put in bicycle stands :)

To be fair, although Station Road is very long, it's not like the entire length is a cul-de-sac leading only to the station. As far as I can tell on Google maps, Station Road is a perfectly normal road, with housing along it for most of its length, and it also does lead to places besides the station. You are correct to the extent that the station is about a kilometre away from the town centre though.
 
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