Outline of Our Proposal
The outline of our proposal can be divided into three basic stages;
- Short term – Restore original station buildings and establish a heritage and learning centre.
- Medium term – Restore the line to Pear Tree Cross and increase visitor numbers.
- Long term – Restore the line to Buckfastleigh and the South Devon Railway.
Overview of Benefits
A heritage railway can bring huge benefits to an area, it boosts the local economy. This boost comes not only from the tourists it attracts spending their money, but also from the volunteers who run the railway and the physical materials that the railway requires, paint and nails for building maintenance being just one example. Having the railway would also keep the towns activities anchored firmly in the town centre, as unlike most businesses it would be unable to move the station to an ‘out of town’ location. This would give businesses in the town a significant number of potential customers, delivered to within a five minute walk of their doors and help them thrive.
Currently the South Devon Railway carries over 100,000 passengers each year, if the railway was to return to Ashburton we estimate that at least 20%* of those passengers would disembark to visit the town. These visitors would be brought to Ashburton without any addition cars or parking requirements. Whilst we are working to reinstate the line between Buckfastleigh and Ashburton we would be working closely with the South Devon Railway and possibly other heritage bus companies to bring visitors to Ashburton Station Heritage Centre by heritage bus, which would also be able to stop in the town centre to pick up and drop off visitors. This would bring benefits to the town in the short term while we worked towards funding for the line.
*Based on figures from visitors of the Bluebell Railway’s recent extension to East Grinstead.
We are also starting on a project to encourage more visitors into the Buckfastleigh and Ashburton area. Working with the South Devon Railway, we would like to lead an initiative with Ashburton and Buckfastleigh, creating an advertising campaign to sell the virtues of our wonderful local environs. We aim to work closely with both town councils, chambers of trade and any other interested parties. One of the benefits of having a large pool of volunteers from all working backgrounds is that the railway already has people with the expertise to put together such a package at a relatively low cost, so working together with the community we can create an attractive package and great reasons for people to visit and stay in the area.
We have listed the key benefits of our proposal below, more detailed information for each point can be found later in this document. The numbers in parenthesis refer to the page number where the detailed information can be found.
- Economic benefits
- Local employment – direct and indirect
- Heritage benefits
- The site has national importance – the station overall roof is the last example of its type.
- Educational benefits
- Social benefits
- Sustainable – for both for transport and the local economy.
- Potential tourist park and ride scheme for Ashburton.
- Greater benefits for the area than DNPA proposal
- Potential for larger economic benefits over a larger area
- Proposal is more in keeping with Ashburton
- 50 long stay car parking spaces to be provided
- Reduced traffic flow in Chuley Road area
- Flood alleviation can and will be incorporated into the scheme
- A valuable asset to the local area