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Cranbrook Rail Station has been officially opened today (Monday 22 February).
Andrew Jones MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, attended the ceremonial opening where he unveiled a plaque.
Hourly services on the existing Waterloo Line, operated by South West Trains, started calling at the station last December. The single platform station was funded by Devon County Council and the Cranbrook New Community Partners, and was delivered on their behalf by Network Rail.
The Minister visited the Station after officially opening the South Devon Highway in the morning.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “I am delighted to officially unveil Cranbrook Station which, following the opening of Newcourt Station last year, is one of the first new stations in Devon for 20 years. Opening up this fast-growing town to new travel links between Exeter and London is a major step forward for the local community. The government is determined to improve transport connections in the South West, boosting the economy, jobs and tourism for the whole region.”
Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth, said: “Cranbrook rail station highlights the major investment being made in the county’s transport infrastructure in order to support the continuing growth of our local economy. We are making improvements to all key areas of our transport networks. This station was warmly welcomed by the local community when services started calling last year, and it has really helped provide a convenient and sustainable link between Exeter, Cranbrook, London and stations in between.”
Councillor Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon District Council, said: “We are delighted to welcome Andrew Jones MP to officially open East Devon’s newest train station. The train service is already making a real difference to the way people travel to and from Cranbrook. By using the train for work, leisure and college, traffic on the roads is reduced, which helps to reduce carbon emissions through sustainable travel.”
John Halsall, Network Rail route managing director, said: “We’d like to thank Devon County Council for funding a new station at Cranbrook providing important new rail links into Exeter, Salisbury, Basingstoke and Waterloo for everyone who lives and works in the area. Investment in rail is a vital ingredient in helping local people and economies thrive. Travelling by train has never been so popular and passenger numbers continue to grow to record levels so this new station will help enormously. Our Railway Upgrade Plan for the area is to improve the railway for passengers and communities connecting people and creating economic benefits across the South West.”
Chris Ellis, Area Manager for South West Trains, said: “Cranbrook station has already proved to be a very popular addition to the network and we're delighted to recognise that today with the formal opening event. We're proud to offer regular services to Exeter St Davids, Salisbury and London Waterloo and help to improve travel options for residents and visitors alike.”
Councillor Peter Bowden, Devon County Councillor for Broadclyst and Whimple, said: “I'm delighted that this new station is proving immediately to be a godsend for the people of Cranbrook. The Minister’s interest in this venture and the Exeter hinterland is most welcome.”
Kevin Blakey, Chairman of Cranbrook Town Council, said: “We welcome the Minister’s official opening of Cranbrook station, which has been in operation since December. Being on the train travel map is making a massive difference to the town. It is easier for people to travel to and from Exeter, plus Cranbrook also has a direct link to London.”
Cranbrook is one of the UK’s fastest growing towns and is less than a 10 minute train ride from Exeter Central. The town now has around 1,300 households and is likely to reach 8,000 homes over the next 10–20 years.
The station has been developed with the potential to reinstate a second track and the site also includes bus and taxi facilities, 40-space bicycle parking shelter and a 135 space car park.