A busy platform at the Exmouth train station. (Archant)
Rail users on the Exmouth line are calling for newer trains to have more space for bikes, pushchairs and holiday baggage. A report by the Avocet Line Rail Users Group (ALRUG) said there have been no new trains in Devon and Cornwall for 30 years. ALRUG chairman MIke Reddaway said newer trains headed for the Exmouth line, formerly used in the Thames Valley, were built in the 1990s and the seating layout is not suitable and need to be adapted.
Great Western Railway (GWR), which operates the Avocet line between Exmouth and Exeter, said new modern trains are already in operation.
Mr Reddaway said: “There have been several changes of plan in recent years, mainly due to late delivery of new trains for the London area. But with the new timetable introduced in December 2019 we at last got the four coach service long promised for our line. Before the March lockdown overcrowding problems had disappeared. The benefit was also seen when schools and colleges reopened in September. We need to be sure these benefits continue when the Turbos arrive”
“Devon Metro trains from Exmouth to Exeter and on to Paignton can be busy all day long.
“They are used by workers, students and school children along with shoppers, sports fans and leisure travellers throughout the year. Many of those passengers, unlike London commuters, bring luggage, pushchairs, all sorts of large stuff, as well as bikes. We need open areas by all the doors, to stop carriages getting blocked. If people can’t get on and off easily, trains get delayed and even cancelled.”
In response, a spokesman for GWR said: “More modern trains with better on-board facilities and more seats have already started to operate on the Avocet line, and these will continue to be rolled out from our 13 December timetable change. We share local aspirations to commit further investment in these trains, especially in light of changing customer markets, and will continue to work with the DfT (Department for Transport) and our rail industry partners to realise any future opportunities.”