Businessman launches petition to restore Sidmouth’s railway link

Sidmouth railway station

Sidmouth railway station - Credit: Archant

A petition calling for the return of Sidmouth’s railway link, five decades after its closure, has been launched.

The Sid Valley community has been called upon to throw their support behind the scheme which seeks to rally the government into bringing the line back. Last year the Herald ran a story on the potential return of thousands of railway links across the country, including in Sidmouth.

Man-on-a-mission Thoi Nguyen has launched an online petition appealing to the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. It comes after Mr Grayling revealed some of the scrapped routes could be reopened, which sparked excitement within the community last December.

The town’s branch line and station was one of 2,363 axed during the 1960s in a cost saving scheme after being opened back in 1874.

Campaigners have said its return could ease traffic congestion, boost businesses and reduce environmental pollution from carbon emissions by petrol and diesel emissions in the town centres.

Thoi, who runs a nail salon in Honiton, said: “For more than fifty years, the railway route from Sidmouth junction through Ottery St Mary and Tipton St John has been closed and forgotten. The track was lifted, and only footpaths remain.

“There is no doubt that the local communities in Ottery St Mary, Sidmouth and neighbouring villages would benefit from a restored local train service.

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“If the stations at Ottery St Mary and Sidmouth were re-opened, there would be an increase in demand from visitors and business investors, supporting jobs and businesses, encouraging new local investment, and boosting the economy of the area.”

The business owner said he had plans to expand into Sidmouth but he can not drive so would find it difficult to commute to the town.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport said there was nothing more to report at this stage.

She added: “It has set aside significant funding for the development of new railway schemes in the next railway funding period from 2019 to 2024.”

To sign the petition click here