It's been a long time in the waiting, but daily passenger services have returned to Okehampton once more.
The 'Dartmoor Line' opens on 20 November 2021, becoming the first line to be reinstated under the Department for Transport’s 'Restoring your Railway' initiative. Initially trains will run each way every couple of hours but there are plans to increase to an hourly frequency sometime in 2022.
I've been a fairly frequent visitor to Okehampton over the years as it's a great starting point for exploring the northern edges of the moor. Bus links to the town are reasonable but not brilliant and the community has long campaigned to have paasenger services reinstated after closure in the 70's. Credit is due to all those who kept the enthusiasm going, including Dartmoor Railway Association as well as Devon County Council who helped subsidise a summer Sunday service for several years.
Earlier this month I met up with Nat Taplin, a friend and founder of goodjourney.org.uk, for a catch up stroll. On the way out of town we paid a visit to the station, which was a hive of activity as work continued to upgrade the facilities ready for reopening day. The open moor is but a 5 minute walk away, whilst accomodation is next door at YHA Okehampton which occupies the adjacent former railway shed. There is also a Rail Link bus operating from the station and Okehampton town to Lydford, Brentor, Mary Tavy and Tavistock - opening up further places to explore.
For inspiration of car-free walking routes in the area click here or read our Blog on a south to north Dartmoor crossing.
For more information about the Dartmoor Line and the latest about the new service, visit dartmoorline.com.
Words and picture by Gary