Under Secretary of State Paul Maynard MP meeting the Royal OkeUnder Secretary of State Paul Maynard MP meeting the Royal Oke
18th March 2017. The Royal Oke replacement train passes through Hungerford. Brilliant photo by Tony Barlett18th March 2017. The Royal Oke replacement train passes through Hungerford. Brilliant photo by Tony Barlett
The Royal Oke arrives in Paddington to be received Paul Maynard the Under Secretary of State
Jubilant supporters welcome the Royal Oke at Okehampton Station

Devon Live's Film of the Royal Oke on 18th March

OkeRAIL train the Royal Oke hits the national news!

OkeRAIL’s historic Royal Oke train service between Okehampton and London arrived just 30 minutes late in spite of the passengers having had to change trains at Exeter due to a technical problem with the line. Not only was it fixed by the time that they made their return trip in the evening but OkeRAIL found that what had started as a local news item was promoted to headline news on the BBC and other media.

Just before 8am Royal Oke pulled out of Okehampton bound for Crediton Exeter and London Paddington. However within a few minutes the carriage wheels developed track adhesion problems due to the lack of use of the track.  Remarkably, GWR had a replacement train ready for us at Exeter so only minutes were added to the journey time.

There was an extraordinary family atmosphere on the train. People had come from all over the South West to join the train. They were going to London for an amazing range of reasons.  Visits were made to the Shard, the Science Museum, the London Eye, Westminster, the David Hockney exhibition, long-lost relatives or to find out about orchids at Kew Gardens!  All the sort of things that ordinary people expect to do routinely but currently seldom can if they live in North Devon or Cornwall as it can take up to 10 hours traveling by car and train.

Crucially interviews on the train revealed that many people would be using the restored service to get to work in Exeter and Bristol,  get their children to Exeter College and of course to travel to London on business. (email richard@2day.ws for quotes)

Once in London a delegation of OkeRail members supported by Mel Stride MP met the Under Secretary of State Paul Maynard who welcomed the train at Paddington. He indicated that he found the argument for the line reopening “compelling”.

Hundreds of passengers signed up to participate in signing petitions, seeing their MPs and pressurising their local councillors to get regular services running between Okehampton and Exeter once again.  Moral of the tale?  Don’t let’s wait another fifty years before running the next High Speed Train to London. Not only does the lack of regular trains spoil the track - it isolates communities and businesses in our region.

Join the campaign on  www.facebook.com/okerail @okerailoffical or visit www.okerail.2day.uk

Contact details for Quotes and queries

Chair of the OkeRAIL Forum - mikedaviesassociates@gmail.com  07771933718

Michael Ireland as Chair of the OkeRAIL CIC - mireland501@gmail.com

Chris Bligh as technical advisor - chrisbligh@hotmail.co.uk