SERUG Statement on latest SWR strikes

Update on Summer Strikes

South Western Railway (SWR) have now confirmed that all stations between Yeovil Junction and Exeter will have a replacement bus service on strike days.

This follows an outcry from SERUG, local rail users and pressure from the media (including the BBC) to think again about not providing a service of any sort (bus or rail) on strike days.

Please visit the SWR website for timetables of the revised services. http://www.southwesternrailway.com

No trains between Crewkerne and Exeter for a total of 11 days in September

Network Rail will undertake drainage and track improvements in the Axminster area at weekends and throughout the week of 17-21 September 2018.

The line between Crewkerne and Pinhoe will be closed on the following dates:

  • 8/9 September
  • 15 – 23 September inclusive

During this time a bus service will run between Crewkerne and Exeter.

SERUG has also been advised that other stations (possibly Templecombe and Whimple) will also have reduced or no services on the days following the work, in order recoup lost time caused by ongoing speed restrictions. However, the SWR website does not yet mention this.

See the SWR website https://www.southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey/planned-improvements/september-works

SERUG meets MPs and the Rail Minister at the House of Commons

SERUG’s Chair Bruce Duncan and Secretary Nick Hurrell, have attended two recent meetings at the House of Commons.

The first, in late February was to present the Railfuture/SERUG Proposals for long term investment to the MP’s whose constituencies adjoin the line.  These can be seen  in full, tagged below, as 1) the Presentation and 2) the Proposal.

Sir Oliver Letwin coordinated the group of MP’s and all stations on the Salisbury to Exeter section were represented. Our proposals, which provide major passenger benefits, including better reliability, capacity and time savings, were well received. In summary, they covered SERUG’s aims as outlined elsewhere on this web site, with track doubling from Dinton into a new platform at Tisbury, and a loop between Whimple/Cranbrook as the main priorities. A further loop between Yeovil Junction and Crewkerne would also help resilience for GWR diversionary trains. Finally, we proposed improvements at Yeovil Junction to allow trains to split and join, which would improve journey opportunities and actually requires minimal investment but simply need the will from Network Rail. The need for new trains was also highlighted. We believe our proposals are realistic – given budget constraints.

Sir Oliver, after consulting with his colleagues, wrote to the Rail Minister, Jo Johnson, supporting our proposals and requested funding to allow Network Rail to cost the work.

Subsequently, we were invited to meet the Rail Minister on 1st May. At that meeting we were informed that he has opened a “window” between 31May and 31 July 2018 to allow proposals for additional investment that do not currently sit within Network Rail’s future investment plans. The MP’s are keen that SERUG’s proposals form the basis of improvements to the Salisbury to Exeter section. We will now work with The West of England Strategy Group (Network Rail and South Western Railway supported) and the MP’s to produce a formal plan which also needs to have support from local Councils and LEP’s.

In summary, good progress, but there’s much work to be done! However, we are very hopeful that our continuing lobbying with stakeholder Network Rail, will finally start to see some real plans to improve services on this line.

The presentation  –   HOC-21-Feb-pres-2-final.pptx (174 downloads)

The Proposal  –   21-Feb-2018-mtg-Proposal-final.docx (195 downloads)

Latest Station usage figures now available

The ORR have now published the station usage figures for the 12 months ending November 2017. 

The increase in rail usage continues along the Salisbury to Exeter line – up approximately 4.3% over 2016- despite some passengers deserting rail in favour of cars because the station car parks are often full.   Cranbrook showed a huge 340% increase, but with a few deserting Feniton, Whimple and Pinhoe. Cranbrook as anew town is not yet built out (about 30% only). Also Waterloo was virtually closed in August 2017 when the upgrade was carried out.

The really interesting figure is the 58% increase in passenger usage over the past 10 years  from 2006 to 2016

Download the file below to view the individual station usage figures for November 2016 to November 2017 – 

Station-usage-analysis-inc-2017-1.xlsx (162 downloads)

SERUG Response to South Western Railway consultation on December 2018 and results

We have now submitted our response to South Western Railway’s Timetable Consultation. Please see our Publications page or click here.

April 2018 showed SERUG and others are listened to as SWR announce that our Woking and Clapham Junction off peak stops will be retained from the December 2018 timetable changes. We await the final timetable after SWR have consulted Network Rail.