[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 1.6.1899
Location: On the north side of Station Road, east of its junction with Back Lane
Company on opening: Budleigh Salterton Railway
Date closed to passengers: 6.3.1967
Date closed completely: 6.3.1967
Company on closing: British Railways (Western Region)
Present state: Demolished - no trace of the station remains. The road bridge has also been demolished.
County: Devon
OS Grid Ref: SY089899
Date of visit: June 1965, August 1969 & 20.10.2005

Notes: Newton Poppleford station had a single curving platform on the up side of the line on the north side of station road bridge. There was a small single storey brick building with a pitched slate roof which comprised booking office and waiting rooms, with a separate brick gents' toilet at the south end of the building. Passenger access was by a ramp from Station Road.

Goods facilities were very basic with only general goods and parcels handled. The small goods yard was opposite the platform where there was a single siding accessed from the north. Initially there were no substantial buildings in the yard but some time after 1927 two grain stores standing on staddle stones were built at the north end of the yard. The siding was also
extended south under Station Road with a camping coach positioned at the end of the siding. Goods services were withdrawn from 27 January 1964 and the4 station was downgraded to an unstaffed halt. The station building was demolished and the track was lifted 1968/9.

The first railway in Sidmouth was narrow gauge, built in connection with an 1836 dock venture. This was short-lived and the dock was never built. The Sidmouth Railway was authorised in 1862 but the company collapsed after some of the line’s earthworks had been built; it was revived in 1871, and the line finally opened on 6 July 1874.

The station was inconveniently sited a mile inland; Sidmouth residents deliberately discouraged the railway from coming to the sea front in an attempt to deter trippers. It preferred to remain a select resort, even into the second half of the twentieth century. Sidmouth had been attracting a limited number of visitors for 80 years, especially for winter residence,
and the coming of the railway made less difference than at any other resort in the West Country. The absence of sand on the beach was also an important consideration as shingle beaches are generally less popular with family holidaymakers and day-trippers.

The line was built and owned by the Sidmouth Railway Company but operated on its behalf by the L&SWR, with traffic running down the Otter valley from Sidmouth Junction to Ottery St Mary and Tipton St Johns and then over the steeply graded section to Sidmouth. Although traffic was never heavy it remained steady and was sufficiently high for the Sidmouth Railway to retain its independence until 1923 when it was absorbed into the Southern Railway. Initially there was a total of seven trains ran daily taking 30 minutes for the journey; this reached a peak of 24 services each way in the 1930s

Unlike Sidmouth, the resort of Budleigh Salterton welcomed the locally sponsored Budleigh Salterton Railway which continued following the Otter valley from a junction with the Sidmouth branch at Tipton St Johns. It opened on 15 May 1897 with an intermediate station at East Budleigh, and a second added two years later at Newton Poppleford.

Although the company remained independent until 1912 the line was operated by the London & South Western Railway who built an extension from Budleigh Salterton to Exmouth; this opened on 1 June 1903, with an intermediate station at Littleham on the outskirts of Exmouth.

Much of the through London - Exmouth traffic was diverted along the new line, and several through trains round the circular Exeter - Exmouth - Budleigh - Sidmouth Junction - Exeter route were introduced. Use of the two branches was encouraged by the introduction of runabout tickets just before WW1, and the lines were moderately well used by day-trippers
from London until the start of WW2.

Passenger numbers on the branch remained healthy well into the 1950s, although rationalisation in the 1960 reduced the line to little more than a skeleton service with diesel multiple units introduced on 4 November 1963. A cross-country service from Cleethorpes to Exmouth was introduced in 1960 but this lasted only two years.

The lines between Sidmouth and Sidmouth Junction and between Exmouth and Tipton St John were earmarked for closure in the Reshaping of British Railways (‘Beeching’) report of March 1963. The formal publication of the closure proposal took place on 20 August 1964. Although the Minister of Transport, Thomas Fraser, consented to the closure on 22 December 1965 – his final day in office before Barbara Castle took his place – there was a considerable delay until closure to passengers was effected.

There had never been any industrial development in Budleigh Salterton and goods traffic was always correspondingly light. Freight facilities were withdrawn on 27 January 1964. Through passenger trains were withdrawn at the end of the 1966 summer season, and both branches closed to passenger traffic on 6 March 1967. Freight traffic to Sidmouth survived for a further
two months with complete closure from 8 May 1967. The track was lifted shortly after closure.

Route map drawn by Alan Young. Tickets from Michael Stewart. Bradshaw from Nick Catford

To see the other stations on the Sidmouth& Budleigh Salterton Railways click on the station name: Sidmouth Junction, Ottery St. Mary, Tipton St. Johns, Sidmouth, East Budleigh, Budleigh Salterton & Littleham

Newton Poppleford station seen from Station Road bridge in early 20th century. Initially, goods services were basic with a single siding and no dock or goods shed. Sacks are seen being loaded directly onto a truck from a wagon in the siding.

1905 1:2,500 OS map shows the layout of the station as built. There is one siding parallel with the running line with a head shunt at the north end. There are only two small buildings in the yard, one is a platelayers; hut (left) and the other, alongside the road is probably a goods office.

1932 1:2,500 OS map shows nothing has changed since 1905.

1957 1:2,500 OS map shows the siding has been extended under the road bridge, this was often used for a camping coach, The goods office has been demolished and a grain store has been built. Photographic evidence shows this was two-bay buildings with a wooden loading dock. There
has been a small amount of residential development close to the station.

Newton Poppleford station looking north from Station Road bridge in March 1955. Two wagons are seen alongside the grain store loading dock,
Photo from John Mann collection

Newton Poppleford station looking north c1950s.
Photo from John Mann collection

Newton Poppleford station c1950s.
Photo from John Mann collection

Newton Poppleford station looking south c1950s.
Photo from John Mann collection

A southbound passenger train waits at Newton Poppleford station in June 1959.
Photo from John Mann collection

A Tipton St. Johns train pulls into Newton Poppleford station in August 1963. The grain store with its timber loading dock is seen on the left.
Photo by Peter Gray

Newton Poppleford station looking south in June 1965. The goods yard closed on 27 January 1964 and the siding has been recently lifted.
Copyright photo by John Alsop
Newton Poppleford station looking north in February 1967, a few weeks before the station closed.
Photo by Bernard Mills

Newton Poppleford station in 1968, a year after closure
hoto by Paul Tebbett

Newton Poppleford station looking south in August 1969. Note the strengthening under the bridge. The two-bay grain warehouse standing on staddle stones is seen on the right
hoto by Nick Catford

Newton Poppleford station looking north in August 1969.
Photo by Nick Catford

The site of Newton Poppleford Station in October 2005
Copyright photo by Dave Holman



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[Source: Nick Catford]

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