June 2021

A local resident has written to Dartmoor National Park Authority Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Bishop, about the proposed railway reinstatement. His reply can be seen above.  Let's hope that Dr Bishop goes on to represent the views of National Park residents as well as the Park itself!

This issue has been going on for some time.  As the CEO says, Dartmoor National Park Authority commissioned a report in 2015 to identify the key issues for the proposed line.  Click here to see the report, called 'Devon Main Line Route Options - DNPA Scoping Report.

Recently there has been a lot of renewed interest in the reinstatement of the railway line between Tavistock and Okehampton, as part of a main line ‘northern route’ from Plymouth to Exeter and beyond.  This has been generated by a lobby group calling themselves the ‘Northern Route Working Group’, who have been lobbying local MPs, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Heart of the South West LEP, Devon County Council, Plymouth and Devon Chamber of Commerce, Visit Cornwall, Plymouth University, Peninsula Rail Group, Tavistock Chamber of Commerce and GWR, amongst others.  All seem broadly supportive of the scheme.  Apparently Geoffrey Cox, our local MP, leads support for the scheme among south-west MPs.

The group is led by Andrew Roden, Editor at Steam World Magazine, and Director of the Tavistock Okehampton Reopening Scheme (TORS).  He is a railway journalist and enthusiast based in Cornwall who has also contributed to the Hornby model railway magazine.  They are bidding for a government ‘Restoring Your Railways Fund’ grant to develop their ideas further.

The Group propose that the new railway be a main route for not only local services, stopping in Tavistock and Okehampton, but also for main line trains to London and all large freight trains, as well as the preferred route for nuclear fuel for Plymouth dockyard.  This is a significant departure from the route just being a local passenger line and occasional diversionary route when the Dawlish line is out of action and will therefore involve a great many more fast trains using the line.  The Group hope that the work on the route will start by 2029.

Such a major railway will obviously have an impact on Brentor.  It will probably follow the line of the old GWR railway through the Burn Valley.  It will certainly change the tranquil nature of parts of our village and other villages such as Mary Tavy and Lydford.  There would of course be benefits for our area, including bringing tourists to the western side of Dartmoor and making travel from Tavistock to Plymouth and Exeter much more easy and faster.  There are no proposals to reinstate village stations such as Brentor for use.

If you want to find out more about the ‘Northern Route Working Group’ click here.

Also see their detailed proposals in the Group’s bid for funding from the Department for Transport’s ‘Restoring Your Railway Fund’  by clicking here.


A report has been commissioned by the Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) concerning options for the reinforcement/replacement of the main line from Exeter to Plymouth.  This line was severed at Dawlish in the storms of 2014 and an alternative route in the case of further damage or disruption is considered necessary.  The report focusses on the reinstatement of the line from Okehampton to Bere Alston, since it appears that this could be the most likely option. Other options include conctructing  a new route from Exeter to Newton Abbott or constructing a double track railway on the alignment of the former Teign Valley branch line from Exeter to Newton Abbot.  Network Rail, in their economic appraisal of each of the options, concludes that all options offer poor value for money. At this stage a preferred option has not been identified, although the report identifies that the alternative route options either may not be practical or may be significantly more expensive than reinstating the Okehampton to Bere Alston route.

Brentor would be affected by the reinstatement of the railway, since it would run down the valley from Lydford to Mary Tavy.  It would seem unlikely that Brentor or Mary Tavy would have their stations reinstated. There could be local trains running hourly on the route.  In addition there would be diverted mainline trains on the route when the Dawlish line is closed and some trains for driver training.  The track could also become a route for goods services.

It is suggested  that you may like to read the report - click here to see a PDF copy

If you wish to make comments about the report to DNPA you should address them by email to  Dan Janota at  djanota@dartmoor.gov.uk