Tuesday 12 July 2022

Feasible Financially : Far-fetched Fultility?

The LibDem's Cunning Plan

There is a bit of a craze at the moment for reopening closed branch and subsidiary lines; various campaign groups have clamoured for a small slice of a small cake of "government money" barely enough to fund a very minimalist feasibility study. So, in North Devon, the Liberal Democratic Party is pushing for the re-opening of the line from Barnstable to Bideford.

How? Where?

Devon was, prior to nationalisation, a hotbed of competition between The Great Western (GW) and the Southern Railway (SR) companies. You see it in their maps. Here is a chunk of an SR based map ...
The "open" lines are bus connections, But note the thin black line running east from Barnstaple Junction, This was a GW route from Norton Fitzwarren junction near Taunton. And here is the same area on a GW map.
Notice the broad red "main line" to Barnstaple. It was anything but. It wiggled mightily and was incapable of high speed running. 

The GW terminus in Barnstaple was at Victoria Road.
The station had a modest single platform lavishly adorned with metal posters for the few passengers to enjoy. Here is an old map showing the railways in the town.
Victoria Road was under the "A" of the big Barnstaple name in the map above. It has now been obliterated by  new building and new roads, see below.
Note the roundabout at the junction of the RED road (A139) and the YELLOW road, just above the name Newport. The A139 and the GREEN road (leaving the map right centre) are built on the track bed of the former GW line.

There is  nothing left of the railway infrastructure, all being replaced with modern industrial premises.
But there is just one clue as to what once existed. Here is a closer look at the station as it declined.
Note the house in the red circle. Then drive along the replacement road and ... tada ...
... there is the same house but now alongside the A139 roadway.

But, belay that thought! Could Grosvenor Church, on the opposite side of the road from the station replacement buildings ...
... be the former GW goods shed?
Yes, sure it could be! Yes, sure it is!

Victoria Road station closed in 1960, but trains continued to run until the line as a whole closed in 1966. They were diverted round a link line that led to Barnstaple Junction station.
The route of this link can, as is so often the case, be followed from above c/o Google Earth. Here is the site of the triangle junction ...
... with the eastern leg of the triangle now built over. The line is now a footpath which crosses Landkey Road (bottom left) at the old railway bridge.
The footpath (former link line) curves round ...
... to another crossing on Bishop's Tawton Road (lower left) sans bridge.
To cross the River Taw, the footpath uses the old railway bridge ...
... before the two part company.
Whilst todays line from Exeter to Barnstaple runs straight and true to its terminus, the footpath network ...
... dumps you into a delightful industrial estate ...
... which, if you are clutching your Barnstaple street map, will take you to today's only remaining station, the former Barnstaple Junction (walking from bottom right to top left!).
Barnstaple (former Junction) station is far more delightful that the industrial estate ...
... and forms the focus of the LibDem's re-opening aims, and also the focus of tomorrow's blog!

A Bitter Pill - a P.S.
Alan shares today's journey experience between Bedford and Northampton, a route with campaigned Richard Pill wants to see re-opened.
Alan adds:-
The problem for Mr. Pill is that there is no interest from the relevant local authorities (Bedford Borough, West Northants) in re-opening the Northampton to Bedford railway line. 

Puzzle Pictures
Yep, sieve-brain forgot again!
Gants Hill on London's Underground Central Line - very Moscow.

And ...
... a gin bar in New York (USA) owned by a guy who is fascinated by London Underground's abandoned stations.

Oooh, Siddy, green and white tiles! And cables. And a mucky "tunnel" roof! How exciting!!

Is the gin flavoured with some non-poisonous brake dust concoction? Does a disembodied but mellifluous male voice intone "Mind the gap" (Mind the gep?) at frequent intervals with a devolved "Oxford" pronunciation?

 Next Bideford blog : Wednesday 13th July 

1 comment:

  1. Road numbers in Devon start with a 3, not a 1 which would applies generally east of the A1. So the A139 quoted should be A39 and so on.