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Trains in Devon?

Hi travelers,

I'm planning a trip next summer and the most complicated jump is from Mull to Devon. (!) We're going to visit friends near Honiton. We'd love to make the journey in one long day. I have most of it (bus, ferry, train, plane) figured out; we will fly from Glasgow to Exeter.

Problem: on Trainline.com, it's only offering me buses (coaches) from Exeter to Honiton. At least, it's a bus icon. I remember there being a landslide that destroyed some tracks, but that was a while ago, and I would think my friend would have mentioned if the trains were not working. Comments? Advice?

Thanks!

Ellen

Posted by
8 posts

I should clarify that I can't check the train schedule for next summer, so I'm having to choose the same day of the week now (still on summer schedule) and imagine that it won't be worse.

Since posting I've checked my google machine and found news about strikes earlier this summer, and also news of a new high-speed train next summer.

Any advice welcome. I'm thinking we should spend a night in Exeter, as we'll be exhausted by then!

Ellen

Posted by
5355 posts

You have most likely happened to pick a day when there is a replacement bus on the route (most likely strike or possibly engineering based). It is no guide to what it might be next summer. There are no new trains on this line - that would be for the GWR.

Posted by
6113 posts

Mull to Honiton - you are brave hoping there are no delays and hence attempting this all in one day!

If you are looking at this week, then you will see a bus replacement service between Exeter and Honiton, due to engineering work, but that is unlikely to happen next year. There isn’t a train station at Exeter airport, it is a few miles away, so catching a taxi maybe easier.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you all for those prompt and helpful responses. Further research shows it's not possible to travel from Fionnphort to Honiton in one day, even by flying. Therefore, I'm inclined to slow down as follows:

Take the train from Oban to Birmingham (or another stop along the way) and stop for the night in a small hotel near the station.

The next morning, take the train from Birmingham to Exeter, which is not long at all, followed by the bus ride to Honiton. Or perhaps the trains will be repaired by then!

Or should we stop for the night in the Lakes District? We haven't ever been to this part of Great Britain.

Hope you're having a nice day. It was unseasonably hot and close today here in the front range of the Rockies.

Ellen

Posted by
2445 posts

The railway does not actually go into the Lake District - it skirts the eastern side. The nearest stations are Penrith / Oxenholm on the main line down from Scotland. (Oxenholm does have a branch line to Winderemere - which is on a lake of the same name). For 1 night, it is simply not worth the hassle in my opinion.

If breaking the journey in Birmingham, New Street is the main downtown station - where you might like to find a hotel a short walk away? The trains from Birmingham and the north will arrive at Exeter (St.David’s). From here, you would need to change for the train to Honiton - pay on the day for this short trip. The other, long distance journeys should be pre-booked for specific trains about 11 weeks ahead in order to find low fares. For Glasgow to Birmingham, pre-book with Virgin Trains. For Birmingham to Exeter, pre-book with Cross Country Trains.

Find fares and schedules at www.nationalrail.co.uk Don't bother with Trainline.

If you did end up flying into Exeter, the Airport is on the east side of Exeter just off the A30 and it is not far to Honiton - see map:> https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.758611,-3.3247697,13608m/data=!3m1!1e3!5m1!1e1

Posted by
1188 posts

I'd have thought your best bet would be to fly to Exeter and then get your friend to pick you up at the airport. It is on the Honiton side of Exeter.

If you are booking trains - don't use the website trainline. Use national rail as others have said. When you are ready to book the tickets the website takes you through to the train operating company website to book and pay for the tickets. Trainline charge fees, the train operating companies don't. There are various categories of tickets. The most expensive will always be the walk up fares - called Anytime. The cheapest are Advance - these are for specific trains and are usually non refundable. The difference can be large.

Posted by
8 posts

Excellent information, thank you so much. Our friends are actually in Ottery St. Mary, which I see from your map is much closer to Exeter than Honiton is. I will go back to my original plan of flying. Haven't checked yet, but surely there are buses from Exeter Airport that go through Ottery St. Mary (crossroads that it is).

Thanks for the advice on avoiding trainline. I have been using the Scotrail website but didn't know which companies covered my routes so went to trainline. Great to learn about the national rail website. I haven't gotten into serious train route research yet, as I don't need to (or can't) buy tickets yet, but I have to plan now for the places where I want to get a nice lodging for several days.

Regards,

Ellen

Posted by
2445 posts

Well, if your friends do not have a car, I would have thought that they could get a neighbour to pick you up at Exeter Airport. Failing that, Ottery St.Mary is no great distance from Exeter Airport so I would take a taxi.

When in Ottery St.Mary, try and get someone to drive you down to Sidmouth and Beer on the coast. I also drove through Branscombe - a narrow road with a village of mainly thatched cottages. Try and take a look at these places on Streetview via this map:> https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.7215424,-3.1913686,12438m/data=!3m1!1e3!5m1!1e1

If you want to find out local buses, use > www.traveline.info

To find out who flies between Glasgow & Exeter, check out > www.skyscanner.net (be sure to select ‘monthly view’ as flights might not be every day). If no flights, next Scottish Airport would be Edinburgh and an alternative to Exeter would be Bristol.