Update on Devizes Gateway Station: February 2023

Update on Devizes Gateway Station, by Catharine Symington, Consultant to Wiltshire Council 

  • Network Rail (NR) was appointed by Department of Transport in August 2022 to undertake an Interim Feasibility Study to supplement the Strategic Outline Business Case submitted by Wiltshire Council in November 2021. DfT had decided there is good strategic argument for Devizes Gateway station but further assessment is needed to understand timetabling, operational constraints and any additional works (e.g. at Westbury) that may be required to enable Devizes Gateway station. 
  • The NR Study is investigating possibilities for a stand-alone Devizes Gateway station business case, examining:
    • train service options to serve the station
    • the cost and subsidy implications on existing operations 
    • additional infrastructure work required to operate the new station 
    • refining the costs associated with this project 
  • NR has been working with Wiltshire Council officers and Devizes Development Partnership, who are representing the local community voice. Wiltshire Council is responsible for assessing travel access options to the station site including walking and cycling routes. 
  • The Study has involved a huge amount of work and will provide a better understanding of the strategic and operational challenges and help identify suitable next steps for the project.
  • It is also exploring a wider rail strategy vision into which Devizes Gateway station would fit that could provide benefits across Wiltshire and South-West 
  • Study showed benefits to re-locating station facilities and road access from A342 south of the railway, further west and parallel to the airstrip
  • Station facilities will include a bus stop and cycle parking at the platform entrance, a car drop-off nearby and a station car park, two platforms, footbridge and lifts. Station will be unmanned but have ticket machines
  • Scheme must take account of bridleways and public rights of way. Solution for Stoner Level Crossing and the bridleway diversionary route are fundamental to project viability
  • Station scheme is at an early feasibility stage, so layout will change as the project progresses, taking onboard stakeholder feedback
  • Walking and cycling route will use old branch line initially north of railway to link into Devizes – 3 options have been considered by Wiltshire Council for the active travel route to Devizes
  • NR Timetabling engineers have looked at three different train service patterns as there are substantial challenges in finding available train paths to serve the new station. Extensive work has been done and this has clarified the challenges which means solutions can more easily be identified
  • Works will be required at Westbury station to enable a service to run onwards from Devizes Gateway. This will include re-instating the old Platform 0 and also looking at other interventions that could provide wider benefits. Westbury is a key rural interchange hub and is currently a source of congestion
  • Interim Feasibility Study will be submitted to DfT end of March 2023 to help them make their decision on Devizes Gateway station
  • Given the current funding restrictions, DfT/Government will be looking for consensus from regional level right down to local level – stakeholder support will be crucial to finding further investment
  • Our focus is on a standalone case for Devizes Gateway, but it could form part of a wider Wiltshire rail strategy that stakeholders have expressed commitment to deliver in future
  • A full communications pack will be provided when the study is completed at the end of March

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