Buses will replace trains on a popular railway line this week.

There will be no train services on the Tarka and Dartmoor lines, linking Exeter with Barnstaple and Okehampton due to railway engineering works.

The two lines will be closed from Monday, February 20 until Friday, February 24 to enable Network Rail to carry out improvement works in the Crediton area, which serves as a junction between the two railway lines.

GWR is advising passengers that are planning to travel on the rail replacement bus transport between Exeter St Davids and Barnstaple to allow extra time as double-decker buses are not able to operate due to a road diversion, limiting capacity on that route.

All details on the impact on individual journeys can be found on the GWR website at www.gwr.com/check

Mark Chorley, GWR regional station manager, West, said: “This work is important to ensure we can continue to maintain and improve resilience and we thank customers for their patience in advance. We have been working hard to provide as many replacement buses as we can, but we ask our customers to plan carefully and travel at quieter times to avoid peak-time services which are likely to be very busy.”

Trains will continue to run on all other routes from Exeter St Davids, including Exmouth, although a reduced service will run between Exeter St Davids and Exeter Central.

GWR is asking passengers to plan ahead and check journey times before travelling.

Dan Parkes, Network Rail senior programme manager, Capital Delivery, said: “I’d like to thank passengers for their patience and understanding next week while we complete vital maintenance to support the continued safe and reliable running of the railway.

“This is an important and highly popular stretch of railway and our work to replace some of the track in the Crediton area will ensure passengers continue to enjoy smooth journeys between Exeter, Barnstaple and Okehampton.”

More strikes

 MEANWHILE, Cornwall is set to experience major disruption on the railway network once again next month.

The RMT has announced that it will take nationwide strike action across the railways on March 16, 17, 18 and 30 and April 1 after what it describes as ‘employers refusing to put any new offers on the table’.

The union represents 40,000 workers across Network Rail and 14 train operators, including Great Western Railway (GWR).

The strike on March 17 is set to affect Network Rail operations, meaning it may not directly affect the operation of trains, it is likely to have an impact on services due to the unavailability of RMT-affiliated Network Rail staff.

RMT members working for the railway operators will take strike action between 00:01 hours and 23:59 hours on March 16, March 18, March 30, and April 1, while Network Rail members will take action between 02:00 hours and 01:59 hours on March 17.

Confirming it has rejected the latest offer as it did not ‘meet the needs of members on pay, job security or working conditions’. For this reason, it has announced a programme of strike action, which as well as the walkouts will include an overtime ban that will affect maintenance and operations work.

The RMT says it is seeking an unconditional offer from rail operators and Network Rail - that is, a pay offer that does not alter working conditions such as the proposed closure of ticket offices or any potential redundancies.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Rail employers are not being given a fresh mandate by the government to offer our members a new deal on pay, conditions, and job security. Therefore, our members will now take sustained and targeted industrial action over the next few months.”