Prospects for a new Wellington railway station rose this week when Somerset County Council published a 10-year passenger transport strategy amid news that next month sees crucial meetings on the plan for new Network Rail facilities at Wellington and Cullompton within four years.
Mike O’Dowd-Jones, Somerset’s strategic commissioner for highways and transport, said that the council had requested that the case for reopening a station at Wellington should be included in the new Great Western franchise, which could begin operation in 2022.
“Wellington is the furthest along of the planned new stations which include Somerton and Chard, but it is important to support all these proposals,” said Mr O’Dowd-Jones. Sources inside the Devon-Somerset Metro Project suggest that extensive studies since New Year have confirmed that the proposal is definitely feasible in terms of timetabling extra trains between Exeter and Taunton.
Taunton Deane Borough Council has already pledged £40,000 towards a business case for a station in Wellington, as part of wider plans to improve the line between Taunton and Exeter.
Deputy TDBC leader Cllr Mark Edwards said: “The updated business case continues to support delivery of Wellington station through the Devon and Somerset Metro project. A brief is currently being constructed for the next stage of the work and meetings are planned over June and July to progress the project.”
Somerset county council’s strategy will now go out to public consultation over a six-week period, before coming back to the cabinet for formal approval later in the year.
Wellington Railway Station was one of more than 2,000 stations axed by British Rail when it closed on October 5 1964. The station originally opened when the Great Western line reached the town on May 1 1843.