sr.png (1653 bytes)

Exeter Central

Exeter Central

An undated photograph believed to have been taken between August 1959 and late 1962 of a double-headed train leaving Exeter Central and about to descend the 1 in 37 gradient down to Exeter St Davids. The train engine is Maunsell N Class mogul Nº31842 and the pilot engine is Z Class 0-8-0T Nº30955. The Z wasn't required for assistance but merely there to save a path for returning to St Davids from where it was needed for banking trains up to Central. Note the wagon turntables on the right of the photo.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

 
Exeter Central Although by the 1970s the booking hall had been let out for commercial rent the Southern Railway sign above remained. The sign went on below, where the blue business centre sign is seen here, stating "Through Expresses to Salisbury, London, Portsmouth, Brighton, Plymouth, North Devon and North Cornwall".

photograph by Paul Martin

 
Exeter Queen Street station was opened to public traffic on the 19th July 1860. It was constructed originally as the terminus of a single-track line built by the London & South Western Railway (L&SWR), which formed a westwards extension of the Salisbury & Yeovil Railway (opened on the 1st June the same year), but it was destined in due course to become a major through station on the L&SWR main line to the West Country.

It is reputed that Queen Street station was built in the moat of Rougemont Castle, which is located south of the railway.  The railway approaches the station from the east through Black Boy Tunnel (263 yards long) then passes under the Well Street, Pennsylvania Road, Howell Road and New North Road bridges before entering the station itself. On 1st February 1862 a westwards extension of the line was opened to join with the Great Western Railway (GWR) at Exeter St Davids station - this passes under Queen Street itself (which bridges the line immediately west of the platforms) and then descends a steep descent of 1 in 37 through the 184 yards of St Davids Tunnel. This extension gave the L&SWR access across GWR lines to Cowley Bridge Junction and thence onwards via Crediton to Barnstaple and Bideford.  The station became an interchange in 1861 with the opening of a branch to Exmouth, which left the main line about half a mile to the east at a new Exmouth Junction just east of Black Boy tunnel.  To the east the line was doubled as far as Broad Clyst in 1864 and throughout to Salisbury by July 1870.

At first the station had only a single main platform and a bay road, both on the down side and covered by a two-road train shed, but in 1874 an up platform and up bay were added together with two through roads. The train shed was extended to cover the new lines and became renowned for being smoke-filled, due to the practice of changing locomotives on services in both directions there which resulted in a considerable amount of engine standing and movements under the canopy. At opening the pedestrian entrances to the station were from the north and south sides and not from the road bridges to the west and east as later. As was common practice at major stations at that time there was a ticket collecting platform on the station approaches and this was situated on the down side just east of the Howell Road over-bridge.

 
The southern part of the station crescent on Queen Street in the late 1970s/early 1980s when the presence of a station existing there was being down-played. Note the Ford Escort Mk2 driving school car.

photograph by Paul Martin

Exeter Central
 
Exeter Central In July 2000 the Southern Railway sign has long since gone but the station's existence is again being acknowledged, albeit its entrance (5th and 6th window bays from the left corner of the crescent) is not too conspicuous.

photograph by Colin Duff

 
The rarely noticed rear of the Queen Street station buildings on 26th December 2000 showing just how extensive the complex is. Access to the platforms is along the windowed concrete bridge seen above the flat roofed extension on the right.

photograph by Chris Osment

Exeter Central
 
Initially Queen Street Station had its own locomotive shed, a three road brick building on the down side between the Howell Road and New North Road bridges, together with a coal stage and 42ft turntable. The growth in traffic to the west, as well as various new branch lines being built in East Devon, placed increasing demands upon this depot. The shed was extended by 64ft in 1872 and more facilities added in 1877, but the yard became ever-more congested. A new locomotive depot was opened at Exmouth Junction on 3 November 1887 and thereafter Queen Street shed was used for stabling and servicing. It retained its turntable, the 42ft original being replaced by a 50ft version in 1888.

In the early 1900s the L&SWR opened a number of new halts in the Exeter area, in conjunction with the introduction of rail motor services on the Exmouth Branch. These included the delightfully named Lion's Holt Halt, situated on the main line just to the west of Well Street bridge and Black Boy Tunnel (virtually within sight of Queen Street station) and opened on 26th January 1906 as a simple two platform affair with a small basic shelter. This halt was conveniently sited for the grounds of Exeter City Football Club, located just behind the down platform, and it was renamed St James' Park Halt on 7th October 1946. The halt remains in use today (2001) but served only by Exmouth branch trains.

 
Exeter Central The line east towards St James Park Halt on 26th December 2000.....

photograph by Chris Osment

 
.....and west towards Howell Road bridge.

photograph by Chris Osment

Exeter Central
 
Exeter Central Seen again on 26th December 2000 this would have in the past been the final station approach and end of the very long up platform - looking west towards New North Road Bridge. The remains of the cattle dock on the right can just still be made out.

photograph by Chris Osment


 
Looking in the reverse direction about 20 years earlier here is the cattle dock situated on the up side between New North Road and Howell Road bridges. Note the end of the extremely long up platform and the 'A' signal box just before Howell Road bridge.

photograph by Paul Martin

Exeter Central

All photographs are copyright

First | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th | Last

This page was last updated 18 August 2010

SR Target

Valid CSS!    Valid HTML 4.01!