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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 November 2005, 15:16 GMT
Rail group support Waterloo plan
A railways lobby group has welcomed Network Rail's new strategy to improve the Exeter to Waterloo Line.

Railfuture says it supports plans announced last week to increase capacity between Exeter and Yeovil and run an hourly service to London.

It was included in South West Trains Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS).

Network Rail has ruled out dualling the entire line, but the RUS says putting in an extra eight miles of double track would allow an hourly service.

Railfuture Devon and Cornwall Secretary Stuart Walker said: "The RUS says that the Exeter to Waterloo line has the fifth highest level of growth in the South West Trains area - more than many London suburban lines.
This route has for too long been the Cinderella of the West Country's rail network.
Stuart Walker, Railfuture Devon and Cornwall

"It is to be welcomed that Network Rail recognises the growth potential for this route that has for too long been the Cinderella of the West Country's rail network.

"As well as providing important links from East Devon, South Somerset and North Dorset to Exeter and London, the line also provides a link from Cornwall and Devon to Southampton, Portsmouth and Brighton.

Careful planning

"It is essential that the new double track passing loops are built in the right places to allow for future expansion.

"With careful planning it should be possible to provide sufficient capacity for two trains an hour from Exeter to Salisbury at minimum infrastructure cost.

"Even if the service does not become that frequent, the capacity will be useful for reducing the effects of delays and as a diversionary route for Paddington services when the line via Taunton is closed for engineering work".

Railfuture Devon and Cornwall says it hopes that the plans in the RUS will be supported by the Rail Regulator and the Department for Transport.

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