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Exeter Central

Despite the attentions of the Western Region both the station and the Southern route refused to die. Even with lack-lustre and unreliable services to and from Waterloo for most of the 1960s and 70s patronage on the line remained steadfast (emphasising that the Southern route serves more places of substance on its way to London than the favoured Western route) and with the introduction of new class 159 DMUs by Network SouthEast in 1992 patronage grew. In 1984 Central became an 'open' station and later that year the New North Road entrance was re-opened and re-furbished, whilst in the last few years the old concrete footbridge and steps have been replaced by a modern steel structure with long ramps down to the platforms. The frontage of the main station buildings has been tidied-up in recent years and some of the offices at the rear remain in use by railway-related contractors.
 
Exeter Central The weighbridge in the late 1970s/early 1980s.

photograph by Paul Martin

 
The land to the west of Queen Street bridge with the tracks descending to St Davids. The left of the tracks was formerly occupied by extensive carriage sidings and a rail served timber yard, the right by goods facilities with wagon turntables. In 2000 the space was still available for most to be reinstated!

photograph by Colin Duff

Exeter Central
 
Exeter Central Another view of the incline and catch siding, this seen on 26th December 2000.

photograph by Chris Osment

 
The notice to loco drivers protecting the wagon turntables in the merchants' good yard to the north of the incline. Subsequent re-painting in the area has left it paint splattered.

photograph by Chris Osment

Exeter Central
 
Exeter Central by day is now a relatively busy town centre station with healthy local services between Paignton in the west (whilst this is not a former Southern destination it makes good sense in a local transportation network), Barnstaple in the north, and Exmouth in the east in addition to those to and from London. In the current re-franchising round there are proposals to improve the capacity of the line to Salisbury by restoring some or all of the double track and increase the speed and frequency of London services. Hopefully Exeter Central may yet regain its rightful place as the city's prime station.
 
Bonhay Road Bridge Further down the 1 in 37 descent trains pass through the St Davids tunnel and then out over the Bonhay Road bridge. This is the location of many a steam era monochrome photograph of locomotives working hard up the steep incline. Today such scenes can only be imagined - and the vegetation surrounding the bridge has become prolific.

photograph by Colin Duff

 
A Waterloo bound Class 50 in large logo livery and a rake of early MkII coaches in blue and grey storm out of Exeter St Davids station and up the hill to Exeter Central station in March 1982.

photograph by Colin Duff

Exeter St Davids
 
Exeter Central Thriving local passenger activity on 27th July 2000. 150219 forms the 11:18am departure to Paignton. The unit will shortly descend the incline and reverse in St Davids station.

photograph by Colin Duff

 
The up Atlantic Coast Express it isn't, nor even a loco and two or three coach set for Exmouth, but at least regular services still survive. An unidentified Class 153 DMU forms the 10:54am departure to Exmouth on 27th July 2000.

photograph by Colin Duff

Exeter Central

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This page was last updated 3 December 2002

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