Written statement to Parliament

Rail infrastructure: 15 July 2014

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Network Rail study to identify options for providing a resilient rail route west of Exeter released.

Earlier this year, I commissioned Network Rail to undertake a study to identify options for providing a resilient rail route west of Exeter.

Network Rail has now provided me with this study which is available on Network Rail’s website The study considers the options below:

  • Option 1 Base Case
  • Option 2 Strengthening the existing railway
  • Option 3 Alternative Route A - the former London & South Western Railway route from Exeter to Plymouth via Okehampton
  • Option 4 Alternative Route B - constructing a modern double track railway on the alignment of the former Teign Valley branch line from Exeter to Newton Abbot
  • Option 5 Alternative Route C (C1 – C5) - five alternative direct routes would provide a new line between Exeter and Newton Abbot

Network Rail’s West of Exeter route resilience study reflects the government’s commitment to delivering world class transport infrastructure in the South West. It will be treated as a material input for Network Rail’s long term planning process and will be incorporated in the Western Route Study, a draft of which will be published for consultation later in 2014.

It is imperative that this work leads to improvements to the resilience of the railways in the south west that ensure there is no repeat of the disruption we saw earlier this year. I expect to make a further statement in the autumn regarding the West of Exeter Route Resilience study and our next steps.