Monday 23 October 2017

Newton Abbot Miscellany, October 2017

Now, I am but a passer-by, with no qualification to discuss the railway history of Newton Abbot, but some notes and miscellany from earlier this week.

A useful map of Newton Abbot railways in the 1950s.

The west end of Newton Abbot station, a much rationalised facility compared with even the 1980s when the remnants of MPD and 'factory' were still present. The former South Devon Railway faclities on the right became part of a site used by publishers David and Charles, although their successors F&W Media have now vacated the site, and it is under a plan, not yet fully agreed, to become an Aldi, which will involve the removal of at least some of the "heritage" seen on the right.

This gantry of signals is from the west end of the station, and was relocated to feature outside of the David & Charles premises. It is located on a ransom strip owned by the council, and intended to be retained as part of the Aldi development. While visiting the town museum, I was told that the ownership would be passed to them, and that the South Devon Railway (Buckfastleigh) team may assist with some maintenance and conservation. Some arms have been removed since 2012 and earlier this year.

Newton Abbot has a small Town and GWR Museum, well worth a short visit. It may move in the near future into the future "Newton's Place". There are many nuggets within one room, including part of frame and signalling equipment from with Newton Abbot West signal box.

A discussion of the historic signalling at Newton Abbot.

A further view of the exhibits, which include a section of South Devon Railway atmospheric railway ducting (hidden), and the factory hooter from the railway works (just to left of centre).

In 1911 the GWR moved the goods station to a location on the Moretonhampstead branch line - which also branched to the Teign Valley Railway which ran inland to Exeter. The 1911 goods station still stands, as the Enigna nightclub, the remainder of the yard being the Olympus Busness Park.

Railway style lamps still present at the lineside.

End of the line, on the Moretonhampstead branch, for the meantime anyway, just west of the Kingsteignton Road, although it is intact to Heathfield. The line appears in good fettle since it was used for Colas Rail operated timber trains to Chirk from 2011 to 2015, but this traffic has now been moved to Exeter, and Network Rail have again placed into a mothballed status.

21st December 2014 "Yuletide Tracker" which ran onto the branch.

The Teign Valley railway has been assessed as an alternative to the Dawlish Sea Wall route:

Network Rail appear to be planning to improve resilience at Dawlish (September 2017)

There are ongoing attempts, with local press coverage, to re-open the branch railway:

Great Devon Railway