PEOPLE could be able to catch a train from Wellington to Taunton and Exeter as soon as 2018, it has emerged.
A new station is likely to be built to accommodate the town’s rapid expansion as council bosses look to make a railway service a reality.
Mark Edwards, deputy leader of Taunton Deane Council, believes a self-sufficient station is more feasible than re-opening the disused one due to several complications, such as the close proximity of canisters from the Swallowfield factory.
He said: “This is a real opportunity to open a Metro rail link serving people in Wellington.
“Rather than just talking about and having an aspiration, I think there is a genuine chance this could be up and running in four years’ time.”
Some 500 homes are set to be built at Longforth Farm and the development is likely to increase demand for better transport links.
It is hoped the new station – featuring self-service ticket machines and a potential swipe card system similar to the Oyster used in London – will make life easier for those who work out of town.
Cllr Edwards, who has been working with Mid Devon District Council, Devon County Council, Somerset County Council, the Local Enterprise Partnership and Network Rail, said a business case is almost complete and work is due to start on looking at its practicality.
He added: “We’re not sure exactly where we’d put the station yet but the key is it has to be accessible. It could open up opportunities for people who work in Taunton, Cullompton, Tiver-ton or Exeter.”
Wellington is thought to be the largest town on the Penzance to London Paddington line without an operational station and the plans have been backed by prospective conservative MP for Taunton Deane Rebecca Pow.
She said: “I sent surveys to 20,000 households in Wellington and Taunton and the majority said they want a station. This shows it would not just benefit Wellington but that it’s a two-way thing.
“When I knocked on doors in Wellington it was clear that the main problem is congestion. With hundreds of extra houses on the way, a new station could be vital.
“I’m in the process of sending more detailed questionnaires to those living in the town.”
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