THE recent announcement by Network Rail that it was hoping to build a rail line about 30 yards out to sea off Dawlish as part of plans to create a resilient railway to serve Plymouth and Cornwall was described as ‘crazy’ and ‘obscene’ at a meeting of Connect Bude at the Falcon Hotel on Tuesday, May 22, writes Christine Williams.

Bude and Stratton town councillor Peter Moores was angry that there was no mention of the alternative Okehampton to Plymouth line which, he said, could provide an alternative at a small percentage of the cost. He objected to the use of Cornwall as a justification.

Dr Michael Ireland, of Okerail, said it was a crazy scheme and he felt that Conservative MP for North Cornwall Scott Mann should take a more active role in fighting North Cornwall’s case. He would be contacting MP for Central Devon Mel Stride and suggested a substantive letter to the Peninsular Rail Taskforce. A meeting of Connect Bude representatives with Mr Mann is scheduled for June 29.

The results of a questionnaire given to passengers on the recent Royal Oke special train to Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon showed that preferred destinations for future special trains were Penzance and St Ives, London, Bristol and Bath, and Cardiff. There were extremely high levels of satisfaction with the GWR catering on the train and the staff were found to be friendly and helpful. There was a 97.4% response in favour of a seven day a week service from Okehampton town station.

The new timetable of Sunday trains from Okehampton to Exeter started on May 20 and Dr Ireland was pleased to point out that one passenger had joined a train at Okehampton at the start of a journey to Milan and on another train a passenger had ended a journey from Launceston, Tasmania, thus stressing the international connectivity of the line. He had been in contact with GWR regional development manager west, Matt Barnes, who had promised more notice for the two special trains being run later in the year.

In the past month membership of Connect Bude has increased by 14 new members and supporters and plans are being made for pop-up membership drives throughout the summer in Bude and Holsworthy.

The Post has approached Network Rail for comment.