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Torrington Station Under Construction.jpg

© Peter Chrisite


The Line Opens

The London & South Western Railway finishes the construction of the railway line from Bideford, opening Torrington Station on the 18th July 1872 as the main terminus of the LSWR in the Westcountry.


Torrington and Marland Railway

The 3ft gauge Torrington and Marland Railway opens to transport clay from the mines at Peters Marland to Torrington for transfer into standard gauge wagons so that the clay can be moved to Fremington Quay and loaded onto ships for export around the world.

Torrington and Marland Railway.jpg

© Great Torrington Heritage Museum

R. N. D. Hussars at Torrington Station.jpg

© Peter Chrisite


The Railway at War

The Royal North Devon Hussars are loaded on to trains at Torrington Station for onward travel to the Western Front.


The Grouping Act

All LSWR lines were merged with other companies in the south of England to form the new Southern Railway.

LSWR 4-4-0.jpg

© Peter Chrisite


© Great Torrington Heritage Museum


North Devon & Cornwall Junction Light Railway

The ND&CJR opens in 1925 creating a route between Torrington and Halwill Junction. In the same year Torrington ceased being the main terminus of the Southern Railway in the South West, this title being transferred to Ilfracombe.


Atlantic Coast Express

The Southern Railway creates a new named express to rival the Great Western Railway's 'Cornish Riviera'. A competition is carried out in the company magazine and is won by Mr F. Rowland, a guard from Woking who soon after moved to Torrington. Torrington became one of the many destinations of this service.


Awaiting Image

Station Porter.jpg

© Peter Chrisite



Following the Second World War the struggling 'Big Four' Railway companies were nationalised to form the new British Railways.


Torrington Shed Closes

Following moves to modernise the railway and make the operations more centralised, Torrington Shed closes with all locomotives now being based out of Barnstaple until this too eventually closes in 1964. Following this closure most motive power is supplied from Exeter.

DMU at Torrington.jpg

© Peter Chrisite


Transfer to the Western Region

To make administration easier, all lines west of Salisbury were transfer to the Western Region of British Railways, putting an end to the Southern Withered Arm. This also signalled an end to steam services at Torrington.


The End of Passenger Services

Torrington lost its passenger service to Halwill Junction on the 1st of March 1965 and lost the remainder of services to Bideford by the 4th of October the same year.

Withdraw of Passenger Service.webp

© Peter Chrisite



A Brief Reopening

In 1968 Bideford Bridge was washed out preventing access across the River Torridge, British Rail restored a temporary service to serve East the Water.


Signal Box Closes

Torrington Signal Box is closed and demolished soon after, not long after being repainted into Western Region Chocolate and Cream!

Fertiliser Depot Under Construction.jpg

© Peter Chrisite


Fertiliser, a New Hope

In 1976 the future looked promising as a new fertiliser depot was built on the site of the old goods shed, however, within a year all traffic had moved to road vehicles.


The Last Milk Train

Torridge Vale Dairy switched the last of its rail traffic to road tankers signalling the beginning of the end for the railway line.

Milk Tankers, Torrington 1978.jpg

© Simon Hall 1978 -


© Stephen Marshall


The Last Atlantic Coast Express

In November 1982 'The Last Train to Torrington' ran from Bristol formed of 13 BR MK1 coaches and 2 BR Class 31s carrying the headboard 'The Last Atlantic Coast Express'.


One Last Attempt at Saving the Line

In January 1983 British Rail executives along with the Devon Euro MP Lord O'Hagan, members of the Committee of the North Devon Railway Line Development Group and local government officials travelled to Torrington in a last ditch attempt at saving line, unfortunatly it was decided that the necessary work would be too costly.

Final Train to Torrington.jpg

© Keith Gale

Torrington Station after the track has been lifted.jpg

© Steve Crowther


The Track is Lifted

After the North-West Devon Railway Preservation Society failed to raise the required funds to purchase the line from British Rail, the track was lifted.


The Tarka Trail Opens

The old track bed having been bought by the council was reopened as a paved cycle and walking route, being officially opened by the then Prince of Wales, King Charles III at Bideford Station on the 28th of May 1992.

Tarka Trail Plaque.jpg


Tarka Valley Railway is Formed

The Tarka Valley Railway was established in 2008 with the aim of preserving what was left of the railway at Torrington with the vision of once again operating a service between Torrington and Bideford.


Passenger Services Return

The first passenger train to run in preservation at Torrington operated on the 5th of August 2023.

Tarka Valley Railway Ticket.jpg
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