Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Friday, 18 April 2008 11:53 UK

Railway closes as owners bail out

Dartmoor Railway
The railway had more than 20,000 visitors last year

Dartmoor Railway has suspended its services after its owners announced the line is for sale.

ECT, which also owns Weardale Railway in Durham, said it was getting out of the train business.

Dartmoor Railway, which suspended its service between Okehampton and Meldon in Devon, has also closed its buffet and shop at Okehampton.

The 15.5 mile line, which is still used to transport stone from Meldon Quarry, was bought by ECT in 2004.

'Great future'

ECT said in a statement that it had proved "increasingly difficult" to provide management and investment for the railway.

"Following a thorough review of our rail businesses, ECT has decided to focus on its core activities of providing high quality, environmental and community transport services.

"ECT is therefore seeking new ownership and investment for its rail businesses."

It said that it was confident that the railway, which had more than 20,000 visitors last year, had a "great future".

It said: "We already have a number of parties interested in taking on the challenge and opportunity."

The line escaped closure in the Beeching cuts of the 1960s and Aggregate Industries still operates trains carrying stone from Meldon Quarry.

The route is part of what once was the Southern Railway mainline from London Waterloo to Plymouth and north Cornwall.


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