UK’s Network Rail promises minimum disruption to Tarka Line

Network Rail, the authority responsible for the United Kingdom’s rail network, has promised to keep passenger disruption to a minimum during improvements to the line between Exeter and Barnstaple in Devon, which is known as the Tarka Line.

The work is to be carried out during March, and two closures will be necessary to facilitate the upgrade work; however, there will be no closures over the weekend of the Easter holiday.

A closure is scheduled for the section of line between Crediton and Barnstaple from 11pm on Sunday March 10, to 3pm on Wednesday March 13, with work to include track and bridge improvements near Lapford and upgrades at Umberleigh. First Great Western, the train operator for the line, is to provide a bus service calling at all affected stations during the closure.

A second closure is scheduled for Saturday March 23 and Sunday March 24, when buses will again be used to replace trains between Barnstaple and Exeter.

Network Rail customer service manager for the West Country, Tim Maddocks, said, ‘Working with First Great Western, we’ve been able to plan this vital work in a way that avoids the busy Easter weekend. We would like to thank passengers for their patience while we complete these essential improvement works to make the Tarka line safer, smoother and more reliable.’

The Tarka line takes its name from Henry Williamson’s book, Tarka the Otter, due to part of its route travelling through the area of Devon where the book was set. It follows the rivers, Creedy, Yeo and Taw, with a branch to Okehampton that is known as the Dartmoor Railway.