Long-awaited work to extend the platforms at St James Park railway station in Exeter is set to finally take place this month.
Platform two is approximately 37 metres long, which means it can be served by only one- or two-coach trains, writes Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Clark.
Others must use selective or single-door opening at the front carriage for passengers to embark or disembark.
The short, Exmouth-bound platform has also caused issues on Exeter City FC matchdays – with trains not stopping at St James Park when Grecians games clash with Exeter Chiefs home fixtures.
Network Rail project manager Mark Radford said: “We are pleased to be able to extend the platforms at St James Park during the same time as other work in the area.
“The extension work will allow the travelling public easier access to trains.
“We will be working 24/seven between Sunday, October 25, and Friday, October 30, and we apologise to neighbours and railway users for any inconvenience caused by our work.”
The work will also see platforms extended at Lympstone Commando and the renewal of a major junction between St James Park and Polsloe Bridge.
It means the line between Exeter Central and Exmouth and Pinhoe will be closed between October 25-30.
Replacement buses will run between Exeter St Davids and Exmouth/Honiton, and a limited train service will continue to run between Exeter St Davids and Exeter Central.
On Sunday, November 8, buses will again replace trains between Exeter St Davids and Exmouth/Honiton.
Matthew Barnes, GWR regional development manager, said: “We are delighted that both platforms at St James Park are going to be extended.
“This will make it easier for customers to board our longer trains, and will help us to keep services punctual and reliable.
“The platform extensions will be built while the line is closed for a junction to be renewed.
“This will mean less noise and disturbance for our customers and for our neighbours, and I am really pleased Network Rail have taken this approach.
“Longer platforms have been an aspiration of the local community for a very long time and it is great to see investment being made in key local stations like St James’ Park.”
Councillor Su Aves, who represents the St Sidwells and St James ward on Devon County Council, added: “This is great news that the wait for this longer platform is going to be over.
“Sustainable transport that is reliable is so important to address the climate emergency. It will be easier for fans to travel to matches.
“Residents and fans have waited long enough.
“I hope it will hugely reduce the number of fans needing to drive into the city centre for matches at St James Park.
“Reduction in air pollution from cars would then lessen any impact on the health of local residents.
“My constituents often contact me complaining about the thoughtlessly parked cars by fans blocking their access or stopping them from being able to park near their home.
“Residents that need or choose to use buses need a regular and reliable service. This is more likely with fewer cars on the road.
“My aim is to make the roads, in the city centre residential areas, safer for walking and cycling. Then people of all ages can feel safe enough to cycle to the city centre for matches etc.
“With reduced traffic those residents that need to use cars will also be able to drive more easily around the city and not sit in slow traffic.
“This will also help our care workers and tradespeople needing their cars and vans for work.”
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