How It Was With GWR

Before January 1947, two private railway companies sped westwards from London. By far the biggest was the Great Western and on the above map it showed its routes in red. The thinner black lines were “connecting” services. 
But if you were the Southern Railway, your view was slightly different.

Southern ran trains on the thick black lines and there were a few “connecting” services which were Great Western operated. At Exeter St Davids the two companies met briefly with the Southern crossing over from east to west of the GWR main line.

The SR “Spam Can” (left) will be making for the North Devon holiday resorts whilst the GWR loco will be hurrying off to London town.

Here is another “Spam Can” approaching Exeter at Cowley Bridge junction.

At the same location a GWR express arrives from London.

The location gained a notoriety until a few years ago in suffering from repeated flooding …

… now de-risked with considerable concrete culvert construction.

Nowadays, all we see juncting at Cowley Bridge is a selection of Exeter’s finest (?) DMUs operated by First Rail.

The first station en route to Barnstaple but served only by Okehampton trains is Newton St Cyres,

The station actually is at Sweetham about 4/5 of a mile away from the village after which the station is named.

At almost all these stops, he station house is preserved but now in private hands. Newton St Cyres did once have quite a luxurious waiting hut …

… but now a simple and utilitarian bus shelter is all that is provided.

Next is the first stop served by all trains, Crediton. The station is on the edge of the modern community …

… so it was good to hear the guard announce buses from outside the station to the town. Stagecoach 5B is the main service to call.

You could have a long wait!

Now that Crediton gets two trains each hour, there must be a case for a proper service from station to town.

The Exeter bound platform is largely unchanged …

… but the northbound line(s) have lost their original buildings.

But two tracks remain.
A reminder of the train timetable before pressing on.

Next we visit Yeoford.

Just one platform remains at this next request stop. In blue diesel days there were two platforms, two tracks and two rudimentary shelters and signs of a third platform.

Now there is just one platform and not much else!

All trains stop at the Metropolis of Copplestone.

… which has a bit more to offer. There is a shop …

… now a well-stocked branch of “Central Stores”.

And it has its “cross” which isn’t a cross.

This 10th century boundary stone marks the meeting place of 3 parishes, Crediton Hamlets, Down St. Mary and Colebrooke. The name Copplestone derives from “Copelan” after the stone. It was first mentioned in a charter of 947 and may have been put up as memorial to Bishop Putta. He was murdered in 906 travelling between Bishop’s Taunton and Crediton.Anglo-Saxon decoration of this high quality is very rare in the South West.

The station retains much of its rural character …

… but with only one platform now pleasantly adorned with some volunteer gardening.

Some will bemoan the lack of big trains to London but this delightful line is a great survivor and passenger numbers continue to grow.

Tomorrow, we will complete the tour; to include a “compulsory” stop with an electronic purpose and one of the least served stations in the UK.
Should you feel a desire to explore, there is a book of walks …

… published in 2013 but still available on line.

To be concluded.


This is a DAF Curtainside 2800 in Eddie Stobart livery. It is produced by Oxford Diecast.

Various dealers have them on sale at about £26. But, yesterday, Hatton’s “pre-owned” listing offers the same model at £17.

Not worthy of a blog comment?

Maybe not, BUT at 2030 last evening the web site was offering 102 (one hundred and two) copies of this model, all supposedly pre-owned and just £17 each.
Who would “collect” 102 copies of the same model?
Memories of Victor Meldrew’s garden gnomes. With apologies for the asperity!
 Next Tarka Line blog : Wednesday 21st June 
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