The Avocet Line Rail Users Group was founded in 2007 and has grown in size, stature and strength since then. Stated simply the objective of the group is to represent the interests of users of the line and to work for improvements to services and facilities. It does this by dialogue and partnership with a number of partners, including Great Western Railway, the current franchise holder, Network Rail, who own the track and stations, Devon County Council and a number of local, regional and national passenger and rail industry bodies. The Group was instrumental in gaining Community Rail status for the line in September 2012. Why join ALRUG? ALRUG now has over 200 members, and benefits include
- getting your voice heard about our train service and stations;
- being kept up to date by e-mail when rail services change;
- receiving our award winning 24 page newsletter four times a year (see sample);
- invitations to our members’ meetings, socials and outings;
- helping to us to continue to get improvements to stations and services.
Our latest manifesto, launched in October 2015, sets out our five year vision for the line.
In our first eight years we have achieved:
- Community Rail status for the line
- an earlier start to Sunday services in winter
- half hour services during the day on Sundays throughout the year
- other improvements to the timetable for the line
- a better bus service when the line is closed for repairs
- regular discussion with relevant bodies about future development of the line
- promotional leaflets, including “Your Guide to Wild Birds”
- a series of walks leaflets
- a taxi rank at Exmouth station
- planting schemes at Topsham, Exton and Lympstone village
- various small but useful station improvements
- provision of information on ALRUG station notice boards
- award winning celebrations of the 150th birthday of the line
Details of our key areas of current work can be found on our campaigns page. Other ongoing work includes-
- Fares fair – making sure that all passengers can buy tickets and that all fares are collected
- Station improvements – making sure that stations are fully fit for purpose and well maintained. Our Secretary meets regularly with the Line Manager from First Great Western to discuss current issues
- Better and longer trains – to provide better quality rolling stock and prevent overcrowding
The Officers and Members of the Committee are (2017/18 committee):
- Mike Reddaway : Chairman
- Noel Harrison: Vice Chairman
- John Colby: Vice Chairman
- Tony Jackson: Treasurer
- Diana Hurfurt: Secretary
- Committee Members -Mike Holbrook, Rob Cousins, Mike Goom, Ken Cretney, Andrew Parker and Jenny Ellis.
At the 2015 AGM it was also announced that the Committee had decided to create the new role of President of ALRUG. We are delighted to announce that former Chairman – Tony Day – has accepted the post. This will enable us to continue to benefit from his knowledge and wise counsel, whilst enabling Tony to have more time to enjoy some of his other interests!