|The Salisbury to
Stations since the 1967 singling
## It is hoped to add more station photographs to this page shortly ##
This page describes the intermediate stations on the former Southern Railway (SR) line from Salisbury to Exeter since the reduction of much of this former main line to single-track in 1967. Other pages in RailWest deal with the background history of the line and the 1967 singling, the changes to the signalling arrangements and the individual signal boxes.
To save download time the detailed information about individual stations on the line is spread across two pages. This page covers all locations from Sutton Bingham to Exeter Central and a separate page covers Wilton South to Yeovil Junction. Any location on either page can be accessed directly from the Index below.
|Index to Stations|
|Wilton South to Yeovil Junction|
|Axminster||Exeter Central||Pinhoe||Sidmouth Junction||Wilton South|
|Broad Clyst||Feniton||St James's Park||Sutton Bingham||Yeovil Junction|
|Chard Junction||Gillingham||Seaton Junction||Templecombe|
SUTTON BINGHAM station was an early casualty of rationalisation. It lost its goods services on 4-Apr-1960 and became an unstaffed halt on 1st August the same year. It closed completely on 31-Dec-1962, although the signal-box remained in occasional use until 1965. All traces of this station have vanished now apart from a few pieces of rubble buried in the undergrowth.
CREWKERNE station remains open for passenger traffic, but goods services were withdrawn on 18-Apr-1966 and the signal-box was closed on 26-Feb-1967. When the line was singled the down line and down platform were taken out of use, leaving the up platform to serve the single-line (formerly the up line) - there is no passing-loop at Crewkerne station. The main station building remained virtually intact and has been refurbished in recent years, now looking quite smart, whilst the (up) platform was extended in 1992.
Surprisingly the old down platform was still in place in 2004, as was the disused signal-box, goods shed and several other buildings in the former goods yard on the up side. At one time there was a water-tower on the up platform close to the road overbridge at the Exeter end - although the water tank itself was removed a long time ago, the base of the structure was converted to commercial use and still exists.
|Crewkerne station on 9th July 2004|
|Station looking east||Station frontage||Station looking east|
from down side
|Station looking west||Old signal-box
and goods shed
About half a mile west of the station is the level-crossing at CREWKERNE GATES, where Automatic Half Barriers (AHBs) were introduced on 12-Nov-1967 to replace the former hand-operated gates.
CHARD JUNCTION has ceased to exist as a station and virtually all the original buildings have been demolished, but the location remains as a passing-loop on the single-line. The station was closed to passenger traffic on 7-Mar-1966 and freight services were withdrawn the following month on 18th April. This location seems to have had something of an identity crisis since rationalisation, being described variously as 'Chard' or 'Chard Junction' in railway documents - although no longer a junction, the latter name is still shown on the signal-box.
The line east to Sherborne was singled on 7-May-1967 and then west to Pinhoe on 11-June-1967. The revised layout consisted of a passing-loop, signalled for bi-directional running on the Up Loop, and a trailing connection in the Down Loop to serve the Unigate Dairies creamery - this connection was worked by a ground-frame released from the signal-box. The original signal-box was an old L&SWR structure situated at the Yeovil end of the former Up platform next to the level-crossing, where the gates were replaced by full lifting barriers on 14-Jan-1968.
On 11-Sep-1982 a temporary signal-box and panel were brought into use on the opposite side of the line and the road - the old box was demolished and a new structure built on the same site. The new signal-box and its panel were brought into use on 11-Dec-1982 and the temporary box closed. The track layout remained unchanged. In recent years the creamery has ceased to send traffic out by rail and the siding connection has been taken out of use.
AXMINSTER station remains open for passenger traffic, but goods services have been withdrawn and the signal-box was closed on 5-Mar-1967. When the line was singled the up line and up platform were taken out of use, leaving the down platform to serve the single-line (formerly the down line) - there is no passing-loop at Axminster station. The main station building remained virtually intact and has been refurbished in recent years, now looking quite smart.
Some distance on the Yeovil side of the station is the level-crossing at AXMINSTER GATES, where the barriers are controlled from the station office with supervision by closed-circuit television.
SEATON JUNCTION station had been rebuilt in 1928 with four tracks, the platforms being served by loops. After the removal of passenger services the signal-box was closed when the line was singled. The new single line followed the course of the former Down Through, all other track on the down side being recovered. Lines on the up side were retained to serve the Express Dairies creamery and these connected to the single line at the Exeter end by a connection facing to Up trains and worked by a new ground-frame.
Subsequently the single-line was re-aligned onto the site of the former Up Through road. The ground-frame and connections were taken out of use in March 1987. The station buildings still remain on the Up side and a long concrete footbridge carries a public path across the line.
HONITON station layout was reduced to a basic passing-loop, with bi-directional signalling on the Down Loop, and an Engineers siding trailing into the Up Loop. The signal-box stands on the Up side at the Exeter end of the platform and is relatively modern, having been opened in 1957. The siding connection however is worked from to a separate ground-frame located in front of the signal-box. Sadly the original station buildings were demolished by British Railways and replaced by a modern utilitarian structure of the CLASP design.
SIDMOUTH JUNCTION station and signal-box were closed as part of the rationalisation, but an existing ground-frame was retained to work the level-crossing gates and protecting signals. With the subsequent growth of new housing in the area the station was re-opened to passenger traffic on 3-May-1971 using a portion of the original Down platform and is now called FENITON (which in fact was its original name when it was opened first in 1860). Tickets were issued from the ground-frame hut until 1974, when a new office was built on the platform. The level-crossing gates were replaced by full lifting barriers on 23-June-1974 and the ground-frame was closed, control of the barriers and protecting colour-light signals being transferred to a control panel in the station office.
WHIMPLE station remained open for passenger traffic, but the signal-box was closed on 11-June-1967 when the line was singled and the public goods service ceased on 4th December of the same year. No passing-loop was created here - the single-line originally served the former Down platform with access via the footbridge, although the Up side remained reasonably intact. The up sidings and a portion of the former Up line were retained to serve Whiteway's Cider depot in the goods yard, with connections facing to Up trains at each end of the station controlled by new East and West ground-frames.
Commercial cider production ceased at Whimple in 1989 and on 6-July-1990 both ground-frames were closed and the sidings taken out of use, with the goods shed being demolished in 1991. During a subsequent station improvement scheme the former Up platform was re-constructed outwards towards the re-aligned main line and brought back into passenger use in 1993. The footbridge and old Down platform were taken out of use and demolished.
BROAD CLYST station lost its goods traffic from 6-Sep-1965 and was closed to passengers on 7-Mar-1966. The former station building and goods shed remain in commercial use on the down side.
PINHOE station marks the start of the final section of double-track on the line. The station was closed to passenger on 7-Mar-1966 and general goods traffic ceased on 10-June-1967. The station buildings were demolished, except for the station-master's house which still survives, and also the signal-box remained open at that time. A siding trailing into the Up line at the Exeter end of the station was retained for access to a cold store. This siding was taken out of use on 1-Apr-1969, and although re-opened subsequently it was closed finally in 1979. There is a level-crossing at the Yeovil end of the station, where the gates were replaced by full lifting barriers on 17-Mar-1968.
With a growth in local housing and commuter traffic in the 1970-80s the station was re-opened to passenger traffic on 16-May-1983 (the second station to re-open on the line), but only with basic shelters for the passengers. However the signal-box was closed on 15-Feb-1988 and control of the area passed to Exmouth Junction signal-box with CCTV for the level-crossing. (The former Pinhoe signal-box and its contents were sold into private ownership and subsequently re-erected at Bere Ferrers station near Plymouth.) Further westwards in the section between Pinhoe and Exmouth Junction there were two separate sidings - one trailed into the Down line and was worked from PYE'S ground-frame, while the other trailed into the Up line and was worked from POLTIMORE ground-frame. Pye's siding was taken out of use in 1969 and Poltimore siding was closed eventually on 6-Dec-1987.
The double track continues past Exmouth Junction, where the signal-box remains in use to control the junction for the branch line to Exmouth, which was reduced to single-track in 1973. Apart from being the junction for the branch to Exmouth this location was famous for being the site of Exmouth Junction (72A) locomotive depot, the main Southern Region depot for the West of England in the days of steam power. With the decline of steam the depot was closed and demolished, and only a coal concentration depot remained in use. . A private railway maintenance contractor has taken over some of the former Up yard.
ST JAMES'S PARK halt remains open with both platforms in use, but it is served only by local trains to/from the Exmouth branch.
The former L&SWR Queen Street station at Exeter was rebuilt in 1927-33 and renamed EXETER CENTRAL. In its new form the lengthened platforms were served by loops, with bays at their outer faces at the east end for the Exmouth branch and other local trains. An extensive goods yard existed behind the Up platform, with other sidings next to the Down line and on both sides at the west end of the station, many being used for carriage storage in busy periods. The existing signal-boxes were replaced by new 'A' and 'B' boxes, the 'A' box being the largest on the Southern Railway west of Salisbury. Sadly this once-busy station has declined substantially during the last three decades and now is but a shadow of its former self, having been reduced to little more than a very large halt.
During the 1960s increasing rationalisation took place here, culminating in the closure of the 'B' box on 23-Feb-1970. The former Up Through line had been taken out of use previously on 9-Nov-1969, but the Down Through remained in use, however all other sidings at the west end of the station were removed. The Down Through was taken out of use also in 1984, and with further rationalisation the layout was reduced to that of a basic double track with a single crossover at the east end, a facing connection into the Down Bay and a trailing connection into the Up Sidings. On 4-6th May 1985 the remaining 'A' signal-box was closed and control of the station passed to the new panel signal-box at Exeter St Davids station. As part of this work the Down line was signalled for two-way working between the crossover and Exeter St Davids station, thus enabling trains to come up the bank out of St Davids on either track.
|Exeter Central station on 26th December 2000|
|Station Frontage||Rear of station frontage||Looking west towards station||Lookign west towards station|
|Up Bay and Goods Yard||Looking west down incline||Former 'B' signal-box||Rear view of Goods Shed|
© Chris Osment 2004
Chard Junction and Seaton Junction photographs © Jon Tooke