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Exeter Central

The L&SWR station at Queen Street was/is(!) considerably better sited for the centre of the town than its rival at St Davids, but it soon became unsuitable for its status as a major station with growing traffic. In April 1925 the Southern Railway (SR) announced a programme of re-building, which began later that year and culminated in an official opening on 1 July 1933 by the Lord Mayor of Exeter, when the station was re-named as 'Exeter Central'. The first stage of this work was the extension of the up platform to a massive 1,210 feet, which allowed it to accommodate two trains simultaneously, whilst the provision midway of a scissors crossover between the platform road and the adjacent through line permitted the easy combining of North Devon and Plymouth trains along with the inclusion of a restaurant car portion added in the centre for the journey up to London.
 
Exeter Central The station from New North Road footbridge in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Note the down through road is still in existence as is the goods yard as a cement terminal.

photograph by Paul Martin.

 
Pictured almost from the same position - but a new footbridge - in July 2000.  Shrubs have replaced the down through road, at least as far as the down platform canopy.

photograph by Colin Duff

Exeter Central
 
Exeter Central These are the gates above the down platform in Northernhay Gardens. It is believed they originally gave access to a footbridge within the overall roof of the original station, and thus access to the station. Today if opened there would be a long vertical drop to the car park!

photograph by Phil Harding

 
The new disabled-friendly New North Road footbridge and the remains of the goods yard on 26th December 2000.

photograph by Chris Osment

Exeter Central
 
The joining of two trains with insertion of the restaurant car portion proceeded as follows - the first train would arrive from the west and stop at the west end of the up platform and its engine would be released over the scissors to the through road. The engine which would take the service eastwards would be waiting at the other end of the platform and it would then reverse onto these coaches and haul them forward to the up end. Another engine standing with the restaurant cars on the western part of the up through line would then propel them through the scissors onto the rear of the front portion and this engine would then withdraw back over the scissors to the through line. The next train for the west would then arrive in the rear half of the up platform and its engine released over the scissors. The front train portion would then reverse to couple up to complete the train formation. This applied to most up expresses except the Atlantic Coast Express and 19 minutes was allowed for the operation.
 
Exeter Central The post Southern Region Exeter Central became a rather dowdy place with blacks, greys and dirty whites predominating. This is a view of the up platform canopy with the cement terminal and Exeter Prison behind.

photograph by Paul Martin

 
More dowdiness and peeling paint exhibited on the down platform.

photograph by Paul Martin

Exeter Central
 
Exeter St Davids A grey day in grey surroundings in March 1982 as a Waterloo bound Class 50 out of St Davids station crests the hill into Central station.

photograph by Colin Duff

 
Contrast the above photo with this one from 1963 with W Class Nº31912 waiting on one of the through roads.

photograph by John Bradbeer

Exeter St Davids

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This page was last updated 3 December 2002

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