Friday, 28 March 2014

Moving Marsh Barton [2]

Devon County Council has bold aspirations for its rail network. A series of reports, published over the last few years, have proposed significant expansion to the number of stations and the services within the county. The detail has varied over time, but can be summarised by this map.
Cranbrook is under construction on the Waterloo main line and due to open later this year.
From the December 2013 timetable change the stop was inserted into the schedules ready for completion.

Northcourt is already "approved" in a developing area south of Digby and Sowton ...
... on the Exmouth line. It will be built alongside Liberty Way, south of Old Rydon Lane.

Next on the list is the errant Marsh Barton, wrongly located south of Topsham by Rail Magazine. This will have a beautiful view of Exeter's waste disposal plant and is located at the existing railway bridge on the delightfully named Clapperbrook Road East, an extension of the newer Alphin Brook Road.
Here is the existing bridge ...
... and here an architect's  view of the approach to the new platforms.
There is no housing at Marsh Barton, just acres and acres of sheds. The estimates for passenger numbers are, therefore, based mainly on travel to and from work. The sort of businesses on the trading estate are hardly likely to attract walking shoppers.

So, is Marsh Barton Station necessary?
Two bus services penetrate the area, both operated by Stagecoach, successors to Devon General and Exeter Corporation.
The "B" should be (and once was) an Exeter city (Citi) route but has been extended to Dawlish. It runs every 30 minutes. 
Then there is "Green".
As the bus branding suggests, this is one of Exeter's park and ride services with the terminus at a site called "Matford". Matford village is further on; and it would be clearer were the car park called Marsh Barton South.
As is so often the case with such services, the leaflet is less than helpful ...
... with no map. Indeed, the casual passenger would be forgiven for thinking this was a Park and Ride service. (?) But it is more than that. It provides a "normal" bus service with multiple stops through much of Marsh Barton estate. Traveline, unusually, comes to the rescue.
With a bus every 10 minutes and loadsa stops, who is going to use the station? Possibly folk travelling from further afield to get to work, but it will be hard to persuade such to abandon their cars; and there is no shortage of parking on the estate.

The current train service to Exeter St Thomas (to the north) and Starcross (to the south) is hourly with trains continuing to Paignton. 
It is unlikely that trains will ever be more frequent than every 30 minutes and there will be problems squeezing in such a generous service between First Great Western and Cross Country expresses. The 1350 from Exeter Central stands in the platform loop at Dawlish Warren for a frustrating 12 minutes to let a Paddington "fast" overtake.
Despite this concern, however, Devon County is to be applauded for its commitment to rail. Let us hope that the money is available, that the passengers turn up to fill the trains and that Rail Magazine eventually gets its geography right.
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Today fbb and Mrs are off to the Isle of Wight for a long weekend visiting chums with fbb preaching at his former church on Sunday. Busy busy. Blogs have been pre-posted (hopefully) so the usual caveat applies. IF the technology works, all will be well, but your un-trusting author cannot be certain ...

Likewise, blog comments may not be acknowledged.

Back home Monday with cat-sitter "embedded" for the duration!
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 Next bus blog : Saturday 29th March 

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