WATAG News 9

The latest edition of WATAG News is now available.
As well as dealing with the shock that Stagecoach have changed the 9A (Exeter to Lyme Regis) to Exeter – Seaton, there is a glimmer of hope that National Express will return to Bridport and Raymond’s Hill this year.

There are updates to local services, news of the new 378 running from Lyme Regis to Seaton, and more.

Although unrelated to our area of West Dorset, we were saddened to learn that Yellow Buses in Bournemouth has gone into administration. They were a good supporter of WATAG and attended meetings and provided helpful advice.

WATAG Annual General Meeting

West Dorset Western Area Transport Action Group (WATAG) announces its Annual General Meeting which will be held at 6.30 pm. on Thursday 27th January 2022.

The Agenda will be-

A. Apologies

B. Chair’s Report

C. Treasurer’s Report

D. Election of Officers and Committee for 2022

There will be a general discussion afterward, and we are inviting representatives of the main public transport operators to give a brief summary of their activities and to answer questions. 

All are welcome. 

It is now 2 years since we were able to hold a meeting in public – in fact, it was our AGM and General Meeting held on 23rd January 2020! Since then, Covid-19 has had a huge impact on all our lives, and public transport has been severely affected; indeed I think it fair to say that without Central Government and Local Authority support none of the conventional public transport services – rail and bus – would be operating at the moment. We have decided, once again, not to hold it in public, so this will be a virtual meeting, using ‘zoom’.

For further information, please email watag@hotmail.co.uk or telephone the Chairman.

WATAG News 7

We are pleased to attach the seventh edition of WATAG NEWS: The brainchild of editor and Advisory Group member, Billy Shearer, who wrote and produced the first issue in September 2020 and has kept readers informed of transport matters in West Dorset ever since.

It has just been confirmed that Bridport Town Council’s No. 7 town bus will run on Christmas Eve and then come back in the New Year with a bigger and better service. The revised timetable from 5th January 2022
is available from Bridport Tourist Information Centre, and online at https://www.bridport-tc.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Bridport-Service-7-From-5-January-2022.pdf.

We welcome contributions and ideas for the WATAG NEWS and look forward to meeting again in public when conditions allow. Very best wishes for a Safe and Happy Christmas with buses, trains and
all other things back better in 2022.


Government-owned National Highways has been accused of selective reporting when defending its controversial tree felling near the old Bridport branch railway bridge at Barrowland Lane, Toller
Porcorum (Bridport News, 30 Oct. 2021). The organisation had said it was asked to do the work by Dorset Council as part of measures to stop the bridge being further damaged by tree growth.
Moreover the head of National Highways’ Historical Railways’ Estate Programme Hélène Rossiter had claimed that “Any plans to demolish the bridge over Barrowland Lane are currently on hold as part of a national pause on infilling and demolition activity across the HRE.

But local transport campaigners point out that official documents show that National Highways and Dorset Council are working together to demolish the bridge in the near future despite the national pause. A National Highways’ internal paper sets out a “business case” for knocking down the structure even though the bridge “does not require immediate work”. National Highways admits that remedial measures “were not originally programmed for a few more years” but says that Dorset County [sic] Council is pushing hard for complete demolition during the national pause, as part of the Council’s plans to turn part of the old railway line into a travel path for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

Bob Driscoll, chair of the West Dorset Western Area Transport Action Group (WATAG), says “It is very disturbing that these public organisations are keeping people in the dark about their true plans. WATAG supports the principle of using the old railway line for active travel. But there is no
obvious need for the bridge to be knocked down to achieve this.”

WATAG says that Dorset Council has not consulted with the public or local landowners about the
best way to provide access to the new path. The transport campaigners also point out that the new Dorset Local Plan and Local Transport Plan are still being prepared. They argue it is short sighted to get rid of a potentially critical piece of transport infrastructure before these plans are approved.

According to National Highways the demolition and other work asked for by the council will cost
around £175 000. WATAG believes that National Highways is keen to press on so it can use money it is finding hard to spend elsewhere during the national pause. The campaigners point out that the National Highways’ business case lists no consultees outside Dorset Council. Bob Driscoll believes this is a deliberate tactic. “National Highways are willing to argue in secret that the council officers ‘are keen to press forward with the works and are happy to write to, or speak with, anyone in order to ensure that the works are not halted.’ It’s a disgrace that neither National Highways nor Dorset Council have been open about their discussions.”


Change of stop in West Bay


Notice to Customers

Due to essential crane works taking place on George Street in West Bay:

Customers are required to go to the temporary bus stop, which is close to Nauticles Roundabout.

This applies to the following dates ONLY:

Monday 4th of October 2021

Wednesday 6th of October 2021

Monday 8th of November 2021

Tuesday 16th of November 2021

Thursday 18th of November 2021

(If required, customers can also look for directions to this stop, on the map situated in the bus stop on George Street)

WATAG General Meeting: 23 September 2021

We are holding our One Hundred and Fifteenth General Meeting at 6.30 pm on Thursday 23rd September 2021. 

The agenda will be: 

  1. Introductions and Apologies 
  2. Bus Matters, to include an update on the National Bus Strategy 
  3. Rail Matters, to include the South Western Railway Consultation on their December 2022 Timetable 
  4. Any Other Business, to include items raised by anyone 

Although we hope to return to the Bridport WI Hall in the near future, we have decided to stay with the virtual format for the time being.

This facility has been made available courtesy of Yeovil Railway Centre (You can visit their site here: http://www.yeovilrailway.freeservers.com/ ) to whom we are most grateful.

The link to join the meeting, which will be hosted via Zoom, will be provided on request.

If you would like to table a question in advance, or make a statement – particularly useful if you are a public transport provider – please email these to: watag@hotmail.co.uk or phone our chairman, Bob Driscoll, on 01308 425518 or 07856 291891 (mobile). You can also make comment/ ask questions on the night, via the ‘chat bar’.