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Okehampton

Okehampton The replica running-in board on the up platform.

photograph by Colin Duff

 
Okehampton Station at 750 ft on the north western edge of Dartmoor is perched high above the town it serves, though the town did spread up the hill towards it. It was opened on 3 October 1871 when the line from Sampford Courtenay was extended. Services ran further west from 12 October 1874 when the line to Lydford over the Meldon Viaduct opened. The line through the station is flat but there is a 1 in 77 climb in the westerly direction both into and out of the station. Acknowledging its exposed position the down platform was built with a glazed windshield underneath its canopy and the footbridge, which was to a familiar LSWR covered design, was fully glazed.

The station came with a goods yard on its down side and an engine shed and turntable on its up side. The original wooden engine shed burned down and was replaced by a concrete block built shed in 1920. The 50ft turntable adjacent to the shed was replaced by a 70ft turntable closer the station in October 1947 when a coaling stage was also introduced. The up side buildings were completely rebuilt in the prevailing Southern Railway brick style in 1932.

 
The 1932 station buildings restored and now in use as a model shop and tourist attraction as seen from the forecourt on 29th July 2000.

photograph by Colin Duff

Okehampton
 
Okehampton The current down side (left) and up side (right) buildings as seen on not such a fine day almost three years earlier on 3rd August 1997.

photograph by Chris Osment

 
A closer shot of the splendidly restored up side buildings and canopy in July 2000. The Dartmoor Pony service to Meldon Quarry is in the platform.

photograph by Colin Duff

Okehampton
 
From 1961 there was a short lived summer Saturday (plus Fridays and Sundays in June and July 1961) car carrying service between Surbiton and Okehampton - this being in the days before the A30 and A303 were improved and in particular the traffic jams around the Exeter ring road on Summer Saturdays were legendary. This train departed Surbiton at 8:00am arriving at Okehampton around lunchtime and departed there back to Surbiton at 3:55pm. This enterprising service was superseded by concentrating Motorail services from Kensington Olympia and the west of England Motorail service then used the WR's Berks and Hants route.

The status of the line through the station as a main line can probably be stated to have ended when the Plymouth portion of the Atlantic Coast Express ceased on 16 June 1963, although through coaches to and from Waterloo were attached to other trains for a short time. The through train between Brighton and Plymouth ran until 4th March 1967. The line between Okehampton, Tavistock and Bere Alston closed on 6 May 1968 but passenger services on the line between Yeoford and Okehampton lasted until 5th June 1972. Goods traffic ceased in 1979 but several sidings were initially retained.

 
Okehampton The station on 3rd August 1997 suffering the sort of weather its high and exposed position makes it prone to. The LSWR footbridge is no longer glazed.

photograph by Chris Osment

 
A closer view of the down side of the footbridge in July 2000.

photograph by Colin Duff

Okehampton
 
Okehampton The signal box and the western end of the up platform looks like it is a platform mounted box.....

photograph by Colin Duff

 
.....but when viewed from the station forecourt it can be seen it is not. The ground slopes away sharply from the station down a long but pleasant road lined with Victorian/Edwardian houses towards the town centre.

photograph by Colin Duff

Okehampton

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This page was last updated 3 December 2002

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