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Could South Brent station reopen?

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021 9:28am

By Daniel Clark, local democracy reporter

South Brent railway station closed in 1963 (courtesy: Adrian Platt/Geograph)

Totnes MP wants opinions

A campaign to reopen a station lost as part of the Beeching Axe of the 1960s is gathering steam.

Brent Station, on the main line between Plymouth and Exeter, served the village of South Brent. Now Totnes MP Anthony Mangnall, Cllr Richard Hosking, Cllr Peter Smerdon and South Brent Parish Council have joined forces to see whether it could get back on track.

Under the government’s ‘Restoring your Railway Fund,’ resources have been made available for feasibility studies into re-opening disused stations. The government wants proposals for projects to restore lost rail connections to communities. The Department for Transport will fund 75 per cent of costs up to £50,000 of successful proposals to help create a business case.

Mr Magnall and the councillors are keen to encourage local support. ‘’Re-opening Brent Station would not only have a positive impact on the local economy, but remove cars from the road, reduce air pollution, help commuters by improving transport links, enhance tourism, and act as the gateway station to Dartmoor,” Mr Mangnall said.

“South Brent can also become the starting point for a multi-purpose trail on the Primrose Line to Kingsbridge. However, before we progress it is important that we consult with residents of South Brent and the surrounding area to gauge their views.

“A positive response will lead to a working group being established to submit a proposal to government in early March. I hope that as many people as possible will take the opportunity to register their views.”

Cllr Richard Hosking, who represents the South Brent area on Devon County Council, said: “Providing an alternative to the A38 and enhancing the potential timetable for a convenient and frequent local train service for commuters, school children and goods both to and on stops between Exeter and Plymouth is the theory behind re-opening a South Brent Station.

“This ticks the carbon reduction and clean air boxes but first we need to know whether it makes the people of the South Brent area tick too.’’

South Hams District Councillor, Cllr Peter Smerdon added: “Re-opening South Brent station has been talked about for years, now it looks like a seriously exciting possibility. We need residents of South Brent and surrounding villages to complete the survey and get involved.”

A survey runs until 18 February on Mr Mangnall's website  – www.anthonymangnall.co.uk – although for those unable to complete an online survey, postal surveys will be distributed by calling 0207 219 5579.

Brent railway station opened on 15 June 1848. In 1893 it became a junction, with the opening of the branch to Kingsbridge known as the Primrose Line. Plans to extend the line to Salcombe were never progressed.

After the Second World War increasing use of road transport for goods and travel resulted in declining use of the branch line, with it making substantial losses. The last train ran on September 14, 1963 and the station closed the following year.

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