North Tawton

NORTH DEVON RAILWAY

LONDON & SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY

SOUTHERN RAILWAY

BR SOUTHERN REGION

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NORTH TAWTON STATION

 

 

Originally opened by the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) in 1865. Services on the line were extended further west to Okehampton by 1867 and then on to Lydford railway station with the inauguration of Meldon Viaduct in 1874. Constructed to rival the South Devon Railway route to Plymouth, the completion of the LSWR's own route to Plymouth saw this line become an important route with lines to Padstow and Bude as well as Plymouth. Boat trains carrying passengers from ocean liners calling at Stonehouse Pool, Plymouth and prestige services such as the Atlantic Coast Express and Devon Belle all used the route.

 

Following the publication of the Beeching Report in 1963, the Exeter to Plymouth Line was cut back to Okehampton in 1968.

 

North Tawton, Bow, Sampford Courtenay and Okehampton lost their regular passenger services from 1972. The line survived, however, for the purposes of freight thanks to the activities of the British Rail ballast quarry at Meldon, three miles from Okehampton, which had an output of 300,000 tons per year. The quarry survives to this day, although it is now operated by Aggregate Industries.