Why does Devizes need a railway station?
The Devizes area with a population of around 31,000 is the largest town in Wiltshire not to be serviced by rail. Significant employers within Wiltshire have said that having a railway station would significantly help them to both conduct business and attract new talent. It would also help local students access courses at universities and colleges in Bristol, Bath, Reading and Newbury. Devizes is an area surrounded by both beautiful scenery and historic sites. A railway station would help boost connectivity, enhance tourism, and reduce the impact on roads.
Who is leading the project?
Restoring rail access to the Devizes Community Area has been an aspiration for many years and in 2018, the Devizes Development Partnership (DDP) developed a proposal for a station at Lydeway. Early in 2020 a bid, sponsored by Danny Kruger MP was made by the DDP and Wiltshire Council to the Department for Transport’s (DfT) “Restoring Your Railway” (RyR) programme for funding to develop an initial business case. Everyone was delighted when in May 2020 the Devizes Gateway project was selected as one of 10 successful RyR schemes for initial business case funding.
Why Devizes Gateway?
In 1900 most railway stations were in the centre of a town. Today this adds to congestion and sadly the site of the former Devizes Station has been developed and is no longer accessible. However, the main line between Paddington and the West runs just three miles from Devizes, and a review of potential sites along the route identified a location close to the Clock Inn Park, near Lydeway, where the track is flat and straight. The actual location is about 1 mile upline towards London where the old Branch Line diverted towards Devizes from the Main Line. This site is 3.4 miles from the Market Place and easily accessible via the A342, whereas other locations are further from the town centre and less favourable in terms of rail access. It is proposed that there will be a regular shuttle bus to the station as well as easy cycling and walking routes.
When will it happen?
The DDP and Wiltshire Council are working very closely with Great Western Railway, Network Rail and the DfT to develop the business case. A Steering Group and a Working Group have been established, and work is ongoing to ensure that local people and businesses have an opportunity to contribute to the plans. We are targeting 2025 for the construction work to be completed and Devizes Gateway to open.
What happens next?
Presentation made to the Devizes Area Board