Vital bridge repairs to impact services on Dartmoor and Tarka Lines this month

By Alan Quick   |   Editorial Manager/Photojournalist   |
Friday 11th February 2022 6:58 am
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Yeoford bridge is in need of vital repairs.

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TRAIN services between Crediton and Okehampton, and Crediton and Barnstaple, will be replaced by buses from Saturday, February 19 to Sunday, February 27, while Network Rail completes important repairs to Yeoford bridge ((Water Leat Underbridge), in Penstone.

Network Rail needs to make critical repairs to help maintain and improve the reliability of this important bridge and stretch of railway, which carries passenger services on the Dartmoor Line to Okehampton and on the Tarka Line to Barnstaple.

Over a busy seven-day period, Network Rail’s engineers will be working around the clock to make a wide range of repairs including to the steelwork and brickwork, renewing parts of the track, grit blasting and painting, water proofing, and drainage.

Fencing will also be installed above the bridge for the safety of both passengers and local residents.

As a result of the engineering work continuing under the bridge, the road was closed from February 7 until March 4 with a diversionary route in place.

Train services will continue to run between Exeter Central and Crediton however a rail replacement bus service will be in operation from Crediton to Okehampton, Barnstaple and Yeoford.

George Bartlett, Network Rail scheme project manager, said: “The repairs we are making to Yeoford bridge are really critical to ensure this well used bridge continues to safely carry passenger services on the Dartmoor and Tarka lines.

“Our engineers will be working tirelessly to complete a large number of improvements and we’re grateful to both passengers and local residents for their patience and understanding while we complete this work.”

Mark Chorley, GWR Regional Station Manager, West, said: “This work is important to ensure we can continue to maintain and improve resilience and we thank customers for their patience in advance.

“We have been working hard to provide as many replacement buses as we can to ensure people can continue to travel confidently and safely. However, we strongly recommend our customers check their times carefully before travelling to ensure a smooth journey with us.”

April/May closure

It should be noted that the line will also be closed for two weeks from the end of April. Essential work is required to remove the two speed restrictions that are on the line.

This needs to be completed before the hourly service starts.

One of the restrictions is at Fatherford, where under track needs to be completed.

The second is at Coleford Junction. At the moment this is 20mph. This needs to be remedied to enable the hourly service to work. There is also some earth works that need to be done in a couple of other places.

The estimated dates are from Monday, April 25 to Monday, May 9.

A rail bus replacement service will be operated while the service is suspended.

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