The Peninsula Rail Task Force report published in November 2016 targets resilience, faster journeys and connectivity. It rightly wants to see London-Plymouth journey times cut to 2h15. But it down-plays the case for re-opening the ‘northern route’ that serves Tavistock and Okehampton.
In 2015, Greengauge 21 set out the key sustainability arguments for re-establishing this important rail connection. Our new report Peninsula Rail Task Force report targets resilience challenges assumptions in the Task Force’s analysis and argues it would be wrong to postpone investment until the 2030s. By then, the existing line via Dawlish will have been subject to flooding disruption on multiple occasions. A ‘high road’ is needed – for resilience to adverse weather – and to open up rail access to Devon and NE Cornwall.
This should include a new cut-off to bypass Cowley Bridge junction, which – astonishingly enough – was reported as being closed due to flooding on the very day the Task Force’s report was published.