Norman Baker MP praises success of Exeter branch line
Wednesday 9 January
Norman Baker, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Transport, visited Exeter St Davids Station on Tuesday 8 January.
The Minister saw the Brompton Dock cycle hire scheme at the station as well as met station staff and representatives of the Avocet Line Rail Users Group (ALRUG) - following confirmation of Community Rail status for the Avocet Line.
Norman Baker said:
“I am pleased to see that the Avocet Line has been a great success story since its community rail service designation in September and congratulate everyone who has been involved.
“Passenger numbers are well up compared with the same period in the previous year with people taking full advantage of the extra services, showing what can be achieved when communities become more closely involved with their railways to help create the services and stations passengers deserve.”
"I also welcome the cycle hire scheme at Exeter St David’s Station. I use a folding bike to get around London so I know first-hand the benefits they bring. This facility really showcases what can be achieved when transport providers come together to establish onward journey solutions for travellers."
First Great Western Regional Manager West of England Julian Crow commented:
“At First Great Western we’re committed supporters of community rail and fully endorse the benefits that working closely with our local partners can bring. The designation of the Avocet Line has enabled it to take advantage of the benefits that are available to all other thriving Community Rail branch lines.”
Passenger numbers on the line are at record levels, increasing 27.8 percent in Dec 2012 compared with the same period last year. Between 2001 and 2011 passenger numbers on the line increased by over 60%.
This is the result of a clear strategy, working with both Devon County Council, the Devon and Cornwall Community Rail Partnership and the Avocet Line Rail Users Group.
“It is also fantastic to see such a prominent figure visiting the Brompton Dock hire scheme at Exeter St Davids. The scheme really is about getting people out of cars and onto bikes.
“With the Minister’s involvement hopefully even more people will be encouraged to use the fold-up bikes, which can be taken on the train and used to complete a journey before being returned to their dock."
Norman Baker is a continuing supporter of the bike hire scheme, which provides members of the public with access to Brompton folding bikes, which can be taken on board trains or stored in the office. The scheme was launched at Exeter St Davids last October.