June 2015


The half fare offer on journeys to Barnstaple from other stations on the line (as far as Digby & Sowton) introduced in late October last year and running until March this year appears to have been a great success, with over 9000 more journeys made. Full details of the extra usage from each station can be found here


The final passenger figures for 2014 are available here

January 2015


On Saturday 21st February we were pleased to have a visit from Claire Perry, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Transport, responsible for rail franchising, rail commercial, rail fares, rail major projects (including Crossrail) and freight and logistics.

Claire stopped off at Barnstaple station as part of a busy schedule in the west, and in a meeting following the photoshoot on the platform the TRA took the opportunity to make her aware of the current situation on the Tarka Line.

There was encouraging support from Peter Heaton-Jones who said

“The TRA is fantastic and have worked so hard for so many years to do something here, the key problem we have is that this is a very well used line which could be much better used if only we had more capacity, I cannot stress highly enough how important this rail line is, without it the local economy will be a problem.”

The minister came to realise how much out on a limb we are in North Devon saying

“You have got one road and one rail link for a hugely important destination, what we are all starting to realise is we cannot grow our economy without an investment in transport. That is why we are investing £38 billion over the next five years. It is about trying to spend it where it benefits the maximum number of people, and all over the country there is a real appetite to invest in what works but it was important to not just argue the case for better transport, but to show the wider economic benefits an improved line could bring.”

Finally John Burch made the minister aware of the important part that buses played in the local transport environment and urged that  funding for local bus networks be ensured.

February 2015

Read more: http://www.northdevonjournal.co.uk/Claire-Perry-parliamentary-secretary-transport/story-26062715-detail/story.html#ixzz3SYLeXo2D

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From right : John Burch TRA Co-ordination Officer; Peter Heaton-Jones, Conservative parliamentary candidate for North Devon; Claire Perry; Des Brailey leader of the Conservatives on North Devon District Council; Mike Day, TRA vice-chairman.


Passenger figures for the first 5 months of 2015 are very healthy. The half price offer to Barnstaple must clearly have played a part in this and of course, given what happened in Feb/March last year, there was always going to be quite an improvement this year. Even so there is a big increase even on 2013 figures.

Download the information here.

The only downside to this is the continual problem of overcrowding on some services, which still needs our attention.

June 2015


Since December 16 two of the most heavily used Tarka Line rail services between Exeter and Barnstaple are to carry an extra coach.

The 7.00 southbound departure from Barnstaple will carry an additional coach providing over 70 extra seats and the notoriously overcrowded 16.57 northbound departure from Exeter St. David’s will also be strengthened with additional rolling stock.

Also the 9.43 southbound departure from Barnstaple will  have an additional coach during school holidays, as in the past it has proved to be very heavily loaded

Tarka Rail Association (TRA) chairman, John Phillips, said:“It’s not a simple matter of saying ‘why don’t they just put on more coaches’” . “The fact of the matter is there are no more coaches! And there won’t be for another two or three years, when electification on other parts of the rail network frees up additional diesel rolling stock for the South-West. First Great Western, the current franchise holder, has done wonders with the limited equipment that the Department for Transport makes available to them. Finding these additional coaches is no small achievement, but the result of innovative scheduling and the fine-tuning of complex service rotas.”

December 2014

Tarka AGM pres - Copy.pdf

June 2015


The final passenger figures for 2015 are available here

January 2016


Like gardening? Like painting and woodwork? Friends of Crediton Station are looking for new members to help keep up the flower beds and planters and to keep the platform signs and benches looking good.  More information from Celia Minoughan from the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership on 07929 243510 and celia.minoughan@plymouth.ac.uk


The offer runs from Saturday 22nd October until Monday 17th April 2017. The half price offer applies to any train after 9.00 am and return the same day It applies to/from all stations on the Tarka Line and no Groupsave or railcard discounts will apply.


The final passenger figures for 2016 are available here

February 2017


Moorview homes Ltd have a current planning application lodged with Mid Devon District Council for the erection of up to 40 dwellings, formation of a 64 space car park to service Copplestone Railway Station, public open space, vehicular access from Shambles Drive, pedestrian links and associated infrastructure.

The land is at the Old Abattoir Site Shambles Drive Copplestone and the planning reference is 16/01888/MOUT.

Full details can be found at https://planning.middevon.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=neighbourComments&keyVal=OHT OZMKS02T00

Facility to make comment on the application is now closed.

It is with regret that we have to announce the death of Peter Craske, TRA’s Press & Publicity Officer and the author of the best selling “Tarka Line Walks” publications.

Peter was born in February 1942 and grew up in Morchard Bishop.  His love affair with Devon never waned and in fact grew through his long summer school holidays with his favourite great aunt who also lived in the village.  It was his journeys at the end of each summer term from Trinity College Cambridge that first aroused his interest in the Tarka Line.

Peter worked at the BBC producing children’s programmes for seven years during the 1960s, following which he moved to the USA starting out in public television, again producing children’s programmes.  However he soon became interested in raising money for charities – indeed he liked to call himself a “professional pickpocket” and enjoyed asking people for money! Peter met his wife Deborah in 1998 whilst working as the chief fundraiser for a huge government based charitable organisation for seniors.

In 2003 Peter persuaded Deborah to move to the UK and, of course, to his beloved Devon.  They chose a charming cottage in South Tawton and got involved in many local organisations and activities. These included the Tarka Rail Association, initially as a result of carrying out one of his favourite functions counting and, in his inimitable way, chatting to passengers.

Peter, and his ever faithful Scrumpy the Labrador, were great walkers and upon hearing of the idea of walks from railway stations along the Exeter to Barnstaple line, set about producing not one but three award winning collections of walks of varying length and difficulty from every one of the thirteen stations.  His style of writing was very special and enjoyable.

Quite apart from his work as our Committee’s Media Relations Officer (at which he was brilliant), Peter was a renowned churchman; oversaw the re-establishment of the wonderful new community bookshop in Crediton; and enjoyed a game of crazy golf!

Peter has been a great friend whose humour and wisdom we shall miss greatly. He was a great raconteur, often amusing yet always self deprecating.  Indeed your Committee members have paid warm tributes to the loss of their friend, but perhaps our Chairman’s comment that it is a pity that the world is not blessed with more men like Peter, a true gentleman, is the greatest accolade of all.

Our sympathies go to Deborah and to Peter’s sons James and John and their families.

PETER CRASKE 1942 – 2017

An HONEST man here lies at rest,

As e’er God with his image blest;

the friend of man, the friend of truth,

The friend of age, and guide of youth:

Few hearts like his, with virtue warm’d,

Few heads with knowledge so informed;

If there is another world, he lives in bliss;

If there is none, he made the best of this.

January 2018

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