Connect Bude stay positive despite a refused bid

Eric Partridge
An artists impression of what the future could hold

While the focus of attention has been directed towards the reinstatement of the Dartmoor Line, Connect Bude held its AGM on Saturday, 30th October, at The Falcon Hotel Bude.

There was a strong turnout, despite continuing COVID-19 concerns, with over 30 members and supporters treated to three excellent and encouraging short talks by Dr Michael Ireland the Chair of OkeRail, Bruce Thompson an OkeRail executive member, Bryony Chetwode and David Northey of Travel Watch South West, the latter also being an employee of Network Rail and a very important partner for TravelWatch SouthWest.

Connect Bude has been actively campaigning for five years to extend the line towards Bude via a Holsworthy Parkway station and is delighted to have played a small part in supporting OkeRail in its successful campaign to get the line to Okehampton reopened.

A card and gift were presented to Dr Ireland in recognition of his tireless work over many years to bring about the return of rail to Okehampton. He was warmly applauded by everyone in attendance. Connect Bude Chair, Richard Wolfenden-Brown, reported that their bid to the Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund (RyR) for a feasibility study into extending the line towards Bude, had been turned down by the government panel which had considered 89 applications.
In a letter from Chris Heaton-Harris MP to
Scott Mann MP, Sir Geoffrey Cox QC MP
and Rt Hon Mel Stride MP (who had supported the bid), he provided feedback on Connect Bude’s bid which concluded that ‘Overall, the narrative makes a compelling case for change and journey times in the local area’ and ‘it is my aim that the feedback will help you re-consider your proposal so you are ready to take future opportunities’.

Connect Bude members agreed that, though disappointing, the work on the bid was a stepping-stone to a future stronger bid.

They were also encouraged by the fact that
the RyR bid to explore the reopening of the
line from Tavistock to Bere Alston was approved, as this may eventually lead to the northern route being completed through to Okehampton, thus creating the potential for a reinstated branch line to Holsworthy and Bude.

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