With 1.8 million journeys made in 2016 alone, the Avocet Line provides a vital link between Exeter and Exmouth for commuters, students and visitors alike.
The Avocet Line received its formal designation as a community rail line in 2012. Since then, the line has been supported by the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership and has continued to go from strength to strength. This has included the opening of Devon’s first new station in two decades at Newcourt, and continuing growth in passenger numbers.
The Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership develops the line by:
Meeting three times a year, the Avocet Line Forum brings together the rail operator GWR, the Avocet Line Rail Users Group, Devon County Council, Exeter City Council and other partners. This enables ongoing dialogue, leading to new projects and enhanced understanding and cooperation.
We support the Avocet Line Rail Users Group – from collaborating on projects such as the St James Park station tidy up and funding and promoting the group’s Avocet Ambles leaflets, to helping them with passenger counts.
We promote the Avocet Line through our printed visitor guides, a dedicated section on our Great Scenic Railways website, on social media and in local and regional newspapers. We promote walks from local stations, and initiatives such as our Dining by train promotion, which offered discounts at local restaurants and gastro pubs to diners who get there by train.
We marked the opening of Newcourt station by producing a leaflet targeted at local residents, and teamed up with Great Western Railway to offer carnets of taster tickets. We have used ‘behaviour change’ research to better understand potential rail users and inform our marketing. Other projects include offering trips on the Avocet Line to 10 local schools to inspire the next generation of passengers.
Our community makeover of St James Park station attracted 25 volunteers from eight different organisations. The day not only helped improve the look of the station, but also sparked local residents to get involved and helped to re-kindle a past involvement by Exeter City Football Club.