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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.
Somerset West and Taunton Council is working in partnership with Mid Devon District Council to develop the business case for re-opening both stations. Other key partners in the Devon and Somerset Metro Group include: 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 Neil Parish (MP for Tiverton and Honiton).
In 2019, the Devon and Somerset Metro Group agreed that Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) and Mid Devon District Council (MDDC) would take on the role of project sponsor. This was to recognise that Devon County Council and Somerset County Council were unable to commit the time and resources required to fulfil this role.
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.
In May 2020, the partnership was successful in securing funding of up to £50k from the Department for Transport’s “Restoring your Railway” Ideas Fund. This funding will support the development of the Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC). The SOBC is the first phase of work for a major infrastructure intervention, such as this. At the end of this phase of work, we can expect a decision on whether it is appropriate to progress to the next stage of the project and enter the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline.