This station is still open but is included for completeness

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 9.7.1860
Location: On the north side of The Signals
Company on opening: London & South Western Railway
Date closed to passengers: 3.1.1967 reopned as Fenition 3.5.1971
Date closed completely: Still open
Company on closing: Still open
Present state: Still open
County: Devon
OS Grid Ref: SY095994
Date of visit: 4.10.2005

Notes: When opened the station was sited in the middle of nowhere which gave the LSWR difficulty in selecting a name. It was originally called Feniton and renamed Ottery Road on 1.7.1861. It retained this name until 1868 when it was given the misleading name Ottery St. Mary. After numerous complaints (the town was five miles away) it reverted back to Ottery Road two months later. With the opening of the Sidmouth Railway it was renamed Sidmouth Junction on 6.7.1874.

The station now gained more importance and the platforms were extended. Traffic originating at the station had never been heavy and was negligible once Ottery St. Mary got its own station on the branch. The station was well used for interchange with the branch however.

Although local services on the main line were withdrawn on 7th March 1966, Sidmouth Junction survived for another year, closure coming when the branch lines closed. Just before the station was due to close a large housing estate was being developed at Feniton, close to the station and after a long struggle the station was reopened as Feniton in 1971 using the shortened former down platform. The station buildings were demolished and a bus shelter was built on the platform.

The first railway on 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 lines earthworks had been built; it was revived in 1871 and the line finally opened on 6th July 1874. The station was inconveniently sited a mile inland; Sidmouth deliberately discouraged the railway from coming close enough to the sea front in an attempt to put off trippers, it preferred to remain a select resort, even into the second half of the 20th century. Sidmouth had been attracting a select 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 lack of sand on the beach was also an important consideration as shingle beaches are always unpopular 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 1930's

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 15th 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 which opened on 1st 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 1950's although rationalisation in the 1960 reduced the line to little more than a skeleton service with diesel multiple units being introduced on 4th November 1963. A cross country service from Cleethorpes - Exmouth was introduced in 1960 but this only lasted two years. There had never been any industrial development in Budleigh Salterton and goods traffic was always correspondingly light. Freight facilities were withdrawn on 27th January 1964. With the draw down of passenger services the end was inevitable. Through trains were withdrawn at the end of the 1966 summer season and both branches closed to passenger traffic on 6th March 1967. Freight traffic to Sidmouth survived for a further two months with complete closure from 8th May 1967, the track was lifted shortly after closure.

Route map drtawn by Alan Young.

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

Sidmouth Junction in 1910
Copyright photo from Paul Laming collection

Demolition of the station buildings at Sidmouth Junction in c.1970
Photo by Simon Spencer

Feniton Station in October 2005 - the old Sidmouth Junction up platform is on the left
Photo by Dave Holman




[Source: Nick Catford]

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