Station Name: ASHBURTON

[Source: Nick Catford]
Date opened: 1.5.1872
Location: At the junction of Chuley Road & St. Lawrence Lane
Company on opening: South Devon Railway
Date closed to passengers: 3.11.1958
Date closed completely: 10.9.1962 (goods) 1971
Company on closing: British Railways (Western Region)
Present state: The main station building and trainshed is a listed structure and survives as a garage. The adjacent goods shed also survives. The platform has, however, been demolished.
County: Devon
OS Grid Ref: SX757698
Date of visit: August 1969, June 1987 & June 2005
Notes: Terminus of a branch line from Totnes. The 7 miles of the railway now known as the South Devon Railway originally ran from Ashburton to Totnes a distance of some 9 miles. It was engineered by the builder of the Great Western Railway, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and built to his Broad Gauge (7ft 0¼ inch) specification. Due to financial difficulties the
original South Devon Railway was subsequently taken over by the Great Western Railway in 1876. The line being converted to Standard Gauge (4ft 8½ inches) along with the rest of the Great Western Railway network, over one weekend in 1892.

The line's history is a quiet one; the Ashburton branch, along with many other rural branch lines, never made a profit. Goods traffic, mainly coal, wool, cider and agricultural items were the lifeblood of the line. Continuing to run through two, World Wars, nationalised in 1948, the decline came to a head on 3rd November 1958 when the last passenger train
ran, before even Dr. Beeching came on the scene. Freight however, continued until 7th September 1962 when that finally dwindled to nothing.

Also in 1962 the local press had revealed that a group of businessmen were working on a plan to reopen the line. They saw the running of a steam operated branch line, in the GWR style, in a popular tourist area, as a potentially profitable enterprise and so the Dart Valley Railway Ltd was born. On the 2nd October the first rolling stock arrived but the first passenger trains did
not run until 5th April 1969 due to difficulties in obtaining a Light Railway Order from the then Ministry of Transport. For a short period some Dart Valley Railway works trains ran into Ashburton but this stopped in 1971. The last passenger train into Ashburton was the British Rail (W.R.) Farewell to Ashburton railtour on 2 October 1971.

The last 2 miles of the line to Ashburton were then severed to allow improvements to the A38 trunk road which incorporated part of the line between Buckfastleigh and Ashburton. In recent times a survey has been conducted on the feasibility of rebuilding the line into Ashburton.

Tickets from Michael Stewart
Click here for a more detailed branch history.

Ashburton Station in 1950s
Photo received froim Roy Spratt

Dart Valley Railway locos at Ashburton in 1969.
Photo reproduced from Wikipedia under creative commons licence

Ashburton station and goods shed in August 1969
Photo by Nick Catford

Ashburton Station in August 1969.
Photo by Nick Catford

Ashburton Station in June 1987
Photo by Nick Catford

Ashburton Station goods shed in June 1987
Photo by Nick Catford

Ashburton Station in June 2005
Photo by David Holman





Click on thumbnail to enlarge




[Source: Nick Catford

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