- Tarka Line
color = #efefef
name = Tarka Line|
img1 = Tarkalinelogo.jpg|
lbl1 = Location
lbl2 = From
row2 = Exeter St Davids
lbl3 = To
row3 = Barnstaple
lbl4 = Distance
row4 = convert|39|mi|km|0
lbl5 = Status
lbl6 = Owner
lbl7 = Principal operator
First Great Western
lbl9 = Freight operators
hdr2 = Connecting routes|
lbl21 = At Exeter St Davids
Avocet Line London to Penzance Line Riviera Line
lbl22 = At Crediton
hdr3 = Infrastructure|
lbl31 = Line speed
row31 = convert|55|mph|km/h|abbr=on
lbl32 = Number of tracks
row32 = 1
lbl33 = Route Availability
row33 = 6
lbl34 = Freight gauge
row34 = W6A|
hdr4 = History|
lbl41 = Opened
row41 = 1851 - 1854
lbl42 = Built by
Exeter and Crediton Railway North Devon Railway
lbl43 = Subsequent owners
London and South Western Railway
The Tarka Line (named after the animal hero in Henry Williamson's book "
Tarka the Otter") is a railway line from Exeterto Barnstaplein Devon, England. The line follows the River Yeoand the River Tawfor some of its route. At Coleford Junction there is a branch to Okehampton, which has recently reopened to passenger trains as the Dartmoor Railway.
The towns and villages served by the line are listed below:
Newton St. Cyres
*Portsmouth Arms (a pub!)
Parts of the line are single track, meaning that trains travelling in opposite directions must sometimes wait for each other. The full journey from Barnstaple to Exeter takes just over 1 hour, on-par with the journey time in a car.
Beyond Barnstaple, the railway used to continue to Ilfracombe or
Instowand Bideford. Part of the latter route is preserved as the Bideford & Instow Railway, while sections of both routes have been reopened as cycleways on the Tarka Trail.
Passenger services on the line are operated by
First Great Westernusing Class 142, Class 150 or Class 153 diesel multiple units. During the summer months a Sunday-only service operates (on behalf of Devon County Council) between Exeter Central and Okehampton.
The majority of passengers travel to or from Barnstaple – about three times the number of all the other stations north of Exeter. Chapelton is the quietest station in Devon. Many of the smaller stations have seen a decline in passenger numbers during the last few years, although there have been significant increases at Umberleigh and Eggesford, and on the line overall. Comparing the year from April 2006 to that which started in April 2002, passenger numbers at Barnstaple have increased by 35%. [cite web|title =Station Usage|work =Rail Statistics|publisher =Office of Rail Regulation| url=http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.1529|accessdate = 2008-06-30] The statistics are for passengers arriving and departing from each station and cover twelve month periods that start in April.
The Tarka Line
rail ale trailwas launched in 2002, the first of several such schemes which encourages rail travellers to visit pubs near the line. The trail originally covered 16 pubs, became as many as 19, but is currently just 18 pubs. There are five pubs each in Exeter and four in Barnstaple, with one each at Newton St Cyres, Crediton, Yeoford, Copplestone, Morchard Road, Lapford, Eggesford, Portsmouth Arms, and Umberleigh. 5, 10 or 18 stamps collected in the Rail Ale Trail leaflet entitle the participant to claim special Tarka Line Rail Trail souvenir merchandise. Wessex Trainscovered Class 150 2-car DMUnumber 150241 in coloured pictures promoting the line and named "The Tarka Belle". It is still in service with First Great Western and works throughout its network, not just on the Tarka Line,
The line was designated by the
Department for Transportas a community railline in September 2006. This aims to increase revenue and reduce costs. Among possible options are increasing the car parking at stations, looking at ways to increase the train frequency, and assisting the Dartmoor Railwayto operate a connecting service between Yeoford and Okehampton.
*cite book | last = Nicholas | first = John | title = The North Devon Line | publisher = Oxford Publishing Company | date = 1992 | location = Sparkford | id = ISBN 0-86093-461-6
* Department for Transport, Rail Group (2006), "Route prospectus for the … Tarka Line"'
* [http://www.carfreedaysout.com/ Great Scenic Railways in Devon and Cornwall.]
* [http://ndrailusers.wikispaces.com/ North Devon Rail Users Group.]
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