Tavistock railway station
Tavistock used to have two railway stations, both now closed, with trains to Plymouth:
- Tavistock North was the Plymouth, Devonport and South Western Junction Railway station, operated by the London and South Western Railway.
- Tavistock South was the Great Western Railway station, on the other side of the river Tavy, opposite the town.
The trackbed of the Tavistock North route for around a mile south of Tavistock North station is open to the public as a footpath and nature reserve. The route is almost intact to Bere Alston where it joins today's Tamar Valley Line between Gunnislake and Plymouth. An engineering assessment in 2009 showed that the rail-bed, bridges and tunnels between Bere Alston and Tavistock were in sound condition.
The Tamar Valley line, with which the line from Tavistock would connect, was designated as a community rail line in September 2005, being one of seven pilots for the Department for Transport's Community Rail Development Strategy. One of the aims of this designation was to establish the potential for extending the line from Bere Alston to Tavistock.
In 2008 Kilbride, a housing developer, offered to pay for rebuilding the railway to Bere Alston (from a new station just to the south of Tavistock, on the route from the former Tavistock North station) if agreement to build 800 properties near the station could be concluded. Kilbride published a detailed update on this project in December 2010.
A report by Devon County Council in September 2010 said: "In suffering deteriorating travel conditions while having to support new development, Tavistock is not unique. Where it differs from other towns is that there is a timely, sustainable and affordable solution that will benefit Tavistock’s residents and visitors among others. This solution is the proposed reinstatement of the rail service between Tavistock and Plymouth via Bere Alston."
The West Devon Core Strategy, which was adopted on 19 April 2011, identified the need for additional residential and employment development in Tavistock and the potential need to reopen the railway to Bere Alston. Devon County Council has said that it is working with West Devon Borough Council, the developer and Kilbride Community Rail to develop the project further but reinstatement would occur only in the long term. The County Council would be undertaking the necessary work to secure the powers to build the railway over the coming few years.
West Devon Borough Council announced in August 2011 that Kilbride Group had sold its interest in the residential land at the site to national house builder Bovis Homes Ltd, and that Kilbride would work with Devon County Council to be the promoter of the rail reinstatement scheme, which will largely be funded by the residential development. Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “Improving links to major urban areas is a key transport vision for Devon’s market towns, and making better use of sustainable transport, including rail, is an important element of this vision. This proposed rail link will play a vital role in improving connections between Tavistock and Plymouth to offer a real alternative to using the car, while also providing Tavistock with a link to the national rail network”.
Network Rail's Network Specification for the Western route, published in September 2011, noted that "West Devon Council are proposing to reinstate the former railway line between Bere Alston and Tavistock subject to funding and availability of rolling stock".
A Devon County Council leaflet, endorsed by West Devon Borough Council, Bovis Homes and Kilbride Community Rail, was published in February 2012 outlining the project and emphasising that a public inquiry would be necessary before work could begin, with the inquiry not likely to be held until 2014. The county council launched a consultation in January 2013 on reopening the railway between Tavistock and Bere Alston, and providing a parallel cycle track. It submitted a report to the Planning inspectorate in October 2014 to the inspectorate to trigger a decision on whether a full environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the proposals is required (the ‘screening’ stage), and the second step is to set out the scope of the assessments needed for the EIA (the ‘scoping’ stage).
In February 2017 it was suggested that new cheap 'no-frill mini trains' could be running on disused or little used lines across the country such as Bere Aston to Tavistock in order to see services closed by Beeching reopened. Plymouth City Council announced in April 2017 that a line to Tavistock could be open within five years and be connected to a tram-style 'Plymouth metro' by 2024.
- "Tavistock to Bere Alston: Community Rail Project - 12. Evidence of deliverability" (PDF). February 2009. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
- Department for Transport Rail Group (2005), Route prospectus for the ... Looe Valley Line and ... Tamar Valley Line
- "Tentative Talks Held Over Rail Line Reopening" (Press release). West Devon Borough Council. 2005-07-27. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
- "Updated Position Statement, Tavistock to Bere Alston Community Rail Proposals" (PDF). Kilbride Community Rail. December 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
- "Tavistock to Plymouth Corridor - Analysis of A386 Road and Proposed Rail Scheme" (PDF). Devon County Council. 22 September 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
- "Detailed Development Strategy" (PDF). West Devon Borough Council. pp. 68–73. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- "Transport Planning - Tavistock to Bere Alston Railway". Devon County Council. Archived from the original on 13 May 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- "Bere Alston to Tavistock Rail Line - Core Strategy adopted and Bovis Homes signed up for 750 unit development" (Press release). West Devon Borough Council. 15 August 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- "Network Specification 2011 – Western" (PDF). Network Rail. September 2011. p. 17. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- "Tavistock to Bere Alston Railway - Better connections to West Devon" (PDF). Devon County Council. 3 February 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- "Council plans to make West Devon better connected with new railway and cycle route". 21 January 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-07-22. Retrieved 2015-07-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- No-frills mini trains offer route to reopening lines that Beeching shut, The Times 11 February 2017
- New 'Plymouth Metro' could include new station in Plympton, Plymouth Heald, 23 February 2017
- Map of ambitious 'Plymouth Metro' network with new train stations revealed, Plymouth Herald, 12 April 2017