A LOCAL rail forum is working to address Dartmoor Line passengers’ concerns over connectivity issues between Okehampton Station and more westerly towns such as Bude.

Currently, no buses stop at Okehampton Station after 7:30pm but OkeRail is now asking Stagecoach, which runs the buses, to consider running the service later into the evening so that Bude-bound passengers arriving at Okehampton on the train after 7:30pm are not left stranded without an onward bus home.

Dr Michael Ireland, chair of OkeRail, said that while travelling on the train many passengers travelling to Bude in the evening had admitted to being anxious in case they missed the last bus.

Vice chair of OkeRail Richard Westlake, said: “We are trying to get a later service so that you can go into Exeter and back again. Lots of young people like to going to the city to the nightclubs but can’t get back.

“We have raised this with [GWR and Stagecoach] and they are looking into it. They’ve done it for Bude.”

At the moment, the last bus arrives at 7:30 pm but Okehampton-Exeter trains continue to run until well into the night – the last train leaves Okehampton at 10.19pm.

This means that those living more than walking distance from the station and without access to a car may be left stranded if they arrive late.

To improve Okehampton’s rail service further, OkeRail is also attempting to work with Great Western Railway (GWR) to streamline the journey which will allow passengers who wish to travel by train to Okehampton then by bus to Bude with the opportunity to purchase the train and bus tickets in one go.

Mr Westlake added: “What we are trying to do with bus links is to have the buses and trains as one seamless journey and then to make sure that there are connections between trains. 

“The Tavistock and Launceston bus services are relatively good but the Bude service is not. The problem we are having is that Bude is under Cornwall control not West Devon so we have to make sure Cornwall is on board.

“That is the main emphasis – getting that service into the rail network so that you can get a bus and travel across the country. We would really like to see the bus service as part of the railway link on the rail timetable.”

However, a spokesperson for Stagecoach, said that the company would need to collaborate with Devon County Council and Cornwall Council in order to make alterations to the service.

The spokesperson said: “Our service 6 bus provides the service from Okehampton to Holsworthy and Bude and is operated under contract to Devon County Council with contributions from Cornwall Council, any decisions on timetabling would need to be made in conjunction with them.”

This comes and rail forums across Devon and Cornwall call out for the reopening of the branch line train stations. Currently enthusiasts are campaigning for the reopening of the Tavistock to Bere Alston line.

Okehampton Station reopened nearly two years ago – 49 years after it was closed in the 1970s and has proved to be far more popular than expected.

In November 2022, when the Dartmoor Line celebrated its first anniversary, statistics showed that journey numbers surpassed 250,000.

 Last year, rail minister Huw Merriman also opened the renovated station building where the cafe, old ticket office, toilets and shop are located.

The line reopened on 20 November 2021, restoring a regular, year-round service following more than £40m of Government investment. Following the reopening, trains ran every two hours but subsequent work on the track allowed GWR to set up the current hourly service.

Earlier this year West Devon Borough Council announced that it successfully won a £13.4 million bid to build a second station in Okehampton on the eastern side of the town.

No date has yet been announced for the start of building work on this station which has been named the West Devon Transport Hub.