The project to re-open Wellington Station is part of a wider project to create a Devon and Somerset Metro network. This includes restoring rail access to Cullompton station too.
Following the funding announcement in the autumn budget statement in October 2021, Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) and Mid Devon District Council (MDDC), have been working closely with Network Rail and the Department for Transport (DfT) to finalise next steps in relation to the new stations at Wellington and Cullompton.
The Councils have agreed with DfT that Network Rail will lead on the project from this point onwards, with support from their alliance partner Great Western Railway. It is felt that this will bring significant benefits to the project.
The £5m of funding announced will enable the project to advance significantly through the next two stages of project development and design, following the submission of the Strategic Outline Business Case at the beginning of 2021. The funds will be administered by Network Rail as part of the Restoring Your Railway, Rail Network Enhancements budget with specific outputs and milestones agreed between DfT and Network Rail.
Network Rail has committed to working collaboratively with the promoters to ensure wider land-use, access, masterplanning and community issues can be looked at holistically.
SWT and MDDC have been working with other key partners in the Devon and Somerset Metro Group to promote the scheme, including: Somerset County Council; Devon County Council; Network Rail; Great Western Railway; the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership; Wellington Town Council; and Cullompton Town Council. The project is also supported by Rebecca Pow (MP for Taunton Deane) and Richard Foord (MP for Tiverton and Honiton).
The vision for a Devon and Somerset Metro service, is to provide sustainable transport options for residents of these communities. This will enable reductions in carbon emissions, reductions in congestion and air quality concerns and cutting commuting times. This positive impact will be seen particularly in relation to the key centres of Exeter and Taunton as well as opening up economic opportunities for the towns of Cullompton (and Culm Garden Village) and Wellington.
To support this vision the partnership conducted a number of studies to assess the scope for re-opening stations at Wellington and Cullompton. These studies considered the likely patronage from the stations, the options for providing train services to them, and the technical feasibility of providing stations for the two towns.