Thursday, 27 March 2014

Moving Marsh Barton [1]

fbb likes to think that his knowledge of the geography of mainland Britain is pretty good. Working for a number of years on the Great Britain Bus Timetable must teach you something. He has lived in Devon for just 10 months so is somewhat wary of opening cake-hole and filling it with a foot. But, once again, the odour of ratus ratus wafted over this story from the current edition of Rail magazine.
Topsham is to the east of the River Exe, south of Exeter.
South of the village are some fields and a vast swathe of estuarial mud. The railway line to Exmouth curves across the tributary (River Clyst) in the top right hand quadrant of the aerial view above. There's not much sign of a "large trading estate."

But, on the other side of the river, a little further north, there would appear to be lots of sheddy things, lots and lots and lots!
And, according to Google Maps, the ultimate authority on world and cosmic cartography, at least half of them are called Marsh Barton. So it appears that Rail's journalistic geographical knowledge is not of the best; doubtless yet another bonus of SATS tests and the national curriculum.
fbb cartography to the rescue!

Marsh Barton is Exeter's largest trading estate. There are over 500 businesses trading here including car dealerships, builders' merchants, tool and plant hire. Marsh Barton is about 1 mile south of the city centre with quick and easy access to the M5, A30 and the A38 Expressway via the Exeter Ring Road. The Matford Park and Ride bus service links the Marsh Barton Trading Estate to the city centre.

Once upon a time Exeter Corporation bus route A ran to Marsh Barton Road ...
... whilst its modern successor, still the "A", loops round more recent development at Alphington.
The trading estate was developed in recent history on low lying marsh land (there's a clue in the name!) bisected by the Alphin Brook (aka Nadder Brook). 
The railway line via Alphington (upper left, above) is one of the impractical alternatives suggested for avoiding Dawlish! The track bed has been obliterated by Sainsburys car park, but used to cross Alphington Road here; which is why rebuilding this route is a non starter.
The spine road of the southern (and newer) chunk of the estate appears to celebrate an ill-fitting felt hat ...
... but, in fact, takes is name from a German spa town.

Bad Homburg is the district capital of the Hochtaunuskreis, Hesse, Germany, on the southern slope of the Taunus, bordering among others Frankfurt am Main and Oberursel. The town's formal name is Bad Homburg vor der Höhe (translated as "Bad Homburg in front of the height") to distinguish it from other places of the same name. The town is best known for its medically used mineral waters and spa (hence the prefix Bad, "bath"), and for its casino.

Today, Bad Homburg is again one of the wealthiest towns in Germany, in part thanks to its vicinity near Frankfurt, as many of the directors and employees of the Frankfurt banks live in Bad Homburg.

Clearly an excellent match for Exeter as a twin town.

But we digress!

What happened on March 10th was a decision by a Council sub-committee to approve a go-ahead for the new station. Practicalities, financial and constructional, seem to be some way off, despite the optimism of the Rail report!
Tomorrow we look at Marsh Barton's proposed station within the context of Devon County Council's ambitious rail plans together with a review of today's bus services to the estate.
Mysterious [+] Missing [-] Megabus [+] : a P.S.
Gordon Edwards of Travel Watch South West has kindly sent an "official" Megabus timetable for the Honiton Hub, source unknown. He also sent arrival times, but fbb did not have the commitment to type them up!

1020 Honiton
1040 Exeter Airport
1050 Cullompton
1110 Tiverton
1210 Barnstaple

1020 Honiton
1040 Exeter Airport
1135 Okehampton
1230 Bude

1140 Honiton
1200 Exeter Airport
1300 Okehampton
1355 Bude

1140 Honiton
1200 Exeter Airport
1235 Newton Abbot
1300 Torquay
1315 Paignton
1335 Totnes
1415 Plymouth

1520 Honiton
1549 Exeter Airport
1550 Cullompton
1610 Tiverton
1710 Barnstaple

1520 Honiton
1540 Exeter Airport
1625 Newton Abbot
1650 Torquay
1705 Paignton
1725 Totnes
1805 Plymouth

1930 Honiton
1950 Exeter Airport
2055 Launceston
2135 Bodmin
2215 St Austell
2250 Truro
2350 Penzance

1930 Honiton
1950 Exeter Airport
2025 Newton Abbot
2050 Torquay
2105 Paignton
2125 Totnes
2205 Plymouth

But even here there is possible confusion. Gordon heads his page as "Monday to Saturday" whereas the press release (etc.) offered a much reduced service on Saturday and Sunday. Of course, this confusion could be easily rectified by showing these tables on the Megabus web site.
 Next bus/rail blog : Friday 28th March 


  1. I sometimes despair at seeing frequent errors in RAIL magazine. A caption to a photo of the main repair site on the Dawlish sea wall in the current issue states that it is at ROYAL PARADE! Has Dawlish suddenly relocated itself to Plymouth? The correct location is of course Sea Lawn Terrace and Riviera Terrace.

  2. The station on the east of the Exe is 'Newcourt' - due to open in December 2014.