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History

Torrington Station Under Construction.jpg

© Peter Chrisite

1872

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.

1881

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.

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

© Peter Chrisite

1914

The Railway at War

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

1923

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

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1925

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.

1926

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.

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Station Porter.jpg

© Peter Chrisite

1948

Nationalisation

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

1959

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.

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DMU at Torrington.jpg

© Peter Chrisite

1963

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.

1965

The End of Passenger Services

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

Withdraw of Passenger Service.webp

© Peter Chrisite

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1968

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.

1970

Signal Box Closes

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

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Fertiliser Depot Under Construction.jpg

© Peter Chrisite

1976

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.

1978

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.

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LastAtlanticCoastExpress.jpg

© Stephen Marshall

1982

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'.

1983

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

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1984

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.

1991

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 Prince Charles at Bideford Station in 1992.

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2008

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.

2023

Passenger Services Return

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

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