A STUDY to find out whether regular train services between Minehead and Taunton are viable would be too expensive to carry out, Somerset County Council has said.

The Railfuture group, an independent organisation campaigning for better rail services, wants the council to get on board with support for a regular scheduled train service running between Minehead and Taunton.

Meeting in Taunton earlier this month, the group fully supported calls from Alex de Mendoza, from Minehead Rail Link Group, for a service from Taunton station to the coastal town. 

Mr de Mendoza said: “Routes in and out of Taunton are riddled with road and congestion problems which new housing is likely to make worse. 

“A regular train service along the Minehead line would be a major transport solution for tourists and commuters alike. 

“We are calling on the county council to back a feasibility study on use of this line for a regular service.”

Guest speaker Gideon Amos, vice president of the Town and Country Planning Association, said: “Local authorities really need to think beyond use of the car as the solution to everything. 

“The most environmentally friendly development is to ensure communities are linked with efficient and regular public transport, rather than just more and more roads. 

“Minehead Rail Link Group and Railfuture are absolutely right to call on Somerset County Council to back a new service linking Taunton station to Minehead. 

“This project needs real support and the council is ideally placed to move it forward.”

However, the council said the service would need to demonstrate it could run without negatively affecting West Somerset Railway operations.

An SCC spokesman said: “Somerset County Council recognises the effort the Minehead Rail Link Group is putting behind their goal to see non-heritage rail services running between Minehead and Taunton.” 

The council said it is always supportive of organisations seeking to expand transport choices but does not currently have enough information to know whether such a service is feasible. 

The spokesman added: “To answer these questions detailed studies would have to be undertaken which would cost tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of pounds. 

“Given the current pressures on local government funding, SCC does not have the resources available to undertake this detailed work. 

“We will keep the situation under review and continue looking for funding opportunities which may enable the detailed work required to take place in the future.”