A SHUTTLE service between Exeter and Taunton and the extension of services to Cardiff are among proposals included in a new business plan which aims to see train stations re-opened in Wellington and Cullompton.

The ideas are part of a Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) submitted to the Government making the case to re-open the stations, which were lost to the infamous Beeching cuts in 1964.

Funding of £50,000 to produce the business case was secured last year by campaigners and authorities, including Somerset West and Taunton Council, Mid Devon District Council, Somerset County Council, Wellington Town Council and others, as well as MPs for the areas, Rebecca Pow (Taunton Deane) and Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton).

It was put together by the Devon and Somerset Metro Board and will now be scrutinised by central government.

In Wellington, several sites have been under consideration for a potential new station.

The former hub was located in the north of the town, off the B3187.

New potential sites, revealed in October last year, include land near Langforth Farm, which had been identified as a development site in the Local Plan, and another opposite the former station site, near the Relyon factory in the town.

Cllr Richard Chesterton, cabinet member for planning and economy at Mid Devon District Council, said: “We understand that our project is well placed amongst all the schemes nationally and we feel we have built a strong case which will assist in securing potential future funding and increase the likelihood of our aspirations becoming a reality."

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The business case considers various options to improve the broader service in the area, the board said, including the potential for an hourly service through an extension of the current Cardiff to Taunton service and for a new Exeter to Taunton Shuttle service.

Longer term there may also be potential for longer distance services, it adds.

MP Mr Parish added: “We are currently waiting for the SOBC to be reviewed by the Department for Transport. We hope to hear a positive outcome over the coming months.

"If funding is secured this year, construction could take place as early as 2024.

"This would be very exciting as Cullompton has been without its railway station for too long.”

The Partnership for this project is made up of Mid Devon District Council, Somerset West and Taunton Council, Cullompton Town Council, Wellington Town Council, Devon County Council, Somerset County Council, the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Network Rail, Great Western Railway. The two local MPs Rebecca Pow and Neil Parish have both been directly involved and have sponsored the project.