Station Name: WADEBRIDGE

[Source: Martin James]


Date opened: 4.7.1834 (B & WR station) 3.9.1888 (NCR station)
Location: Southern Way runs through the site
Company on opening: Bodmin & Wadebridge Rly (1st stn), North Cornwall Rly (2nd stn)
Date closed to passengers: 1.11.1886 (1st stn) 30.1.1967 (2nd stn)
Date closed completely: 4.9.1978
Company on closing: British Rail (Western Region)
Present state: The main station building on the down side of the line including its canopy is still extant and in use as the John Betjeman Centre and the goods shed is in use as the Betty Fisher Centre. The rest of the site is now a housing development called Southern Way
County: Cornwall
OS Grid Ref: SW992723
Date of visit: May 1990 & January 2000

Brief History
Wadebridge Station was opened by the Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway in 1834 and was, therefore, one of the oldest railway stations in the country. Both passenger and goods trains ran from the start. The first Wadebridge station was close to Molesworth Road in an area known as The Platt / Fair Plot.

expansion plans into North Cornwall - although legally this did not happen until 1886. In 1888, the GWR made a connection with the Bodmin and Wadebridge at Boscarne Junction and ran trains for several years before LSWR services arrived at Wadebridge in 1895 In 1845, the LSWR acquired the Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway, as part of its future with the
opening of the North Cornwall Railway from Delabole.

The second Wadebridge station was built by the LSWR during the late 1880s as a terminus. It opened on the 3rd of September 1888 and consisted of a station building with a single platform, a goods shed and a two-road engine shed - accessed from a 50-foot turntable - which was completed during 1885 and extended in 1908.

The station was modified for through running in 1899 in conjunction with the extension of the North Cornwall Railway to Padstow. The modified layout had a new island platform for the up line and an up loop - from which the local services usually departed to Bodmin North or Bodmin Road. Significant trackwork changes took place including access to the engine shed from the east side as well as via the turntable.

In 1907, Wadebridge Junction - junction of the North Cornwall Railway and the Bodmin lines some three quarters of a mile from Wadebridge Station - was abolished and replaced by two parallel single lines with a new junction provided at Wadebridge East Signal Box. As part of this, major changes to the trackwork took place at the east end of the station and the island
platform up loop was re-signalled for bidirectional running.

Wadebridge had a quay - owned by the Padstow Harbour Commissioners - which had a number of sidings belonging to the Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway. After purchasing the Bodmin and Wadebridge, the LSWR expanded the number of quay sidings over a period of some years.

There were two types of passenger train service throughout the life of Wadebridge Station with through trains from Padstow to Okehampton, Exeter or Waterloo and local trains to Padstow and Bodmin North. There were also local Western Region trains to Bodmin Road (now Bodmin Parkway).

Closures started in 1964 with the withdrawal of goods traffic over the North Cornwall line - which itself closed completely at the beginning of October 1966. The only trains which then served Wadebridge were local trains from Bodmin Road which reversed at Bodmin General to get to Wadebridge and Padstow. The final passenger trains to Wadebridge were on the
28th of January 1967. Freight trains, however, continued to Wadebridge via Bodmin Road and Bodmin General until 1978 when the line closed completely between Boscarne Junction and Wadebridge.

Plans have been muted by the Bodmin & Wenford Railway to re-open the line from Boscarne Junction to Wadebridge, and this now looks like a distinct possibility, although the new Wadebridge Station is likely to be some quarter-mile nearer Bodmin - closer to the site of the old Wadebridge Junction.

Passenger trains
When the line opened, the Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway ran two passenger trains a week - later reduced to Saturdays only. In addition, macabre 'execution excursions' were run in conjunction with executions carried out at Bodmin Jail ! After LSWR track improvements in 1865, the service was improved with return trips on Mondays, Wednesdays and
Fridays and two return trips on Saturdays. The passenger service was then suspended between 1886 and 1895 whilst further improvements were made - including a complete new station at Bodmin, which opened in November 1895.

In 1888, GWR trains arrived from Bodmin Road and in 1895 LSWR trains arrived from Delabole when the penultimate section of the North Cornwall Railway was opened.

In the spring of 1899, the LSWR ran six up trains and seven down trains daily to and from Okehampton. On Sundays, it is possible that there were five up trains and four down trains - but records from the time are confusing as to whether a Sunday service ran or not. It is also unclear whether the GWR ran Sunday trains from Bodmin Road. For the remainder of its existence,

Wadebridge Station was normally closed on Sundays.

In LSWR days in the summer of 1914, there were six up trains and seven down trains over the North Cornwall line to and from Okehampton, Exeter and Waterloo. This was supplemented by up to 14 local services between Wadebridge and Bodmin North - these services being mostly operated by steam railmotors. Some (but not all) of the railmotor services also ran to Padstow.

In the summer of 1932, the Southern Railway maintained the through services although it was now seven up trains and six down trains. Local services consisted of nine return journeys to Bodmin North and the GWR ran eight return services from Bodmin Road.

In BR days, services over the North Cornwall line had been reduced to only four up and four down trains - although two of these went to or originated from Waterloo. In the days before road transport took over, one of the through trains from Waterloo was the 1:15 a.m. newspaper train which arrived at Wadebridge at 9:05 a.m. - where vans were often removed - and then departed for Padstow at 9:12 a.m. Local services were eight return trips to Bodmin North and eight return GW trips to Bodmin Road.

On Mondays to Saturdays during part of Southern Railway and British Railways days the 11:00 Waterloo-West of England service - which was known as the Atlantic Coast Express (the ACE) and was the most multi-portioned train in the world - had coaches for Plymouth, Padstow, Bude, Torrington, Ilfracombe, Exeter Central (two kitchen/restaurant cars), Exmouth, Sidmouth and Exeter - the latter single coach being detached at Salisbury at 12:23 p.m. and added to a local all-stations train to Exeter Central which left 13-minutes later at 12:36 p.m. In winter the ACE consisted of 13-coaches with three coaches for Ilfracombe, two for Plymouth, the two kitchen/restaurant cars for Exeter, and a single brake-composite coach for each of the other six destinations including Padstow - the latter calling at Wadebridge at 4:50 p.m. On busy summer Saturdays the train ran in four portions with many coaches for each of the destinations.

In BR days in the height of holiday season, the 11:00 a.m. Saturday departure from Padstow to Waterloo - which consisted of eight coaches including a kitchen car and a composite restaurant car - called at Wadebridge to pick up passengers at 11:10 a.m. The last Atlantic Coast Express ran on 7th September 1964 and the last steam hauled trains ran into
Wadebridge on1st January 1965. A number of passenger specials ran during 1978, the year the line closed completely including The Camel Train on 6th May, The Wadebridge Wanderer on the 30th September with the final passenger train was on 17th December 1978 when a DMU making two return trips from Bodmin.

Freight
At Wadebridge, there were a number of trains during each day to which wagons were added, including the 3:13 p.m. up passenger train from Padstow - known to railwaymen as the 'Up Perisher' and the 6:00 p.m. departure from Padstow to Okehampton.

Wadebridge itself dispatched two daily through freight trains over the North Cornwall line which started from Wadebridge at 11:35 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The local fright train to Wenford Bridge - via Boscarne Junction and Dunmere Junction - left Wadebridge at 10:10 a.m. and usually returned about 4:30 p.m. to connect with 5:00 p.m. through freight departure to Okehampton
and beyond.

Although, like most stations, Wadebridge dealt with general freight, cattle etc.,  it had no specific examples of freight. Mention has to be made, however, of the china clay trains to Wenford Bridge - which was accessed via Dunmere Junction on the Bodmin North branch. Up to WW2, the china clay trains passed through Wadebridge on their way to the quay at Padstow, but after WW2 the china clay trains didn't come to Wadebridge - being transshipped at Boscarne Junction (the junction between the LSWR and GWR lines) although the locomotives still came from Wadebridge shed. For most of the life of the line, freight trains to Wenford Bridge were handled by three diminutive 2-4-0WT Beattie Well Tanks retained specifically for the purpose due to the severe curvature of the line. In later years these were replaced by GW outside cylinder Pannier Tanks, which then gave way to class 03 and class 08 diesel shunters.

During WW2 a number of military sidings were laid at Wadebridge Quay with Nissen huts alongside; these were taken out of use after the war. The Quay sidings closed in May 1973 and the last freight train ran on 2nd September 1978 with the line officially closing to freight traffic from 4th September 1978. In the late 1990s, the Bodmin and Wenford Railway made a
proposal to reintroduce china clay trains to Wenford Bridge but this was heavily opposed by some local residents.

Locomotives on Wadebridge Shed
Wadebridge Shed (BR code 72F) had a small number of resident engines over the years - although a number of other engines were stabled during the day and overnight. In LSWR days in the late 1890s, the shed was home to class 0380 4-4-0, class O4 0-4-2, and class O2 0-4-4T locos.

Through SR days, the shed was home to class 0415 (Adams Radial) 4-4-2T, class 0460 4-4-0, class 0298 (Beattie Well Tank) 2-4-0WT, class L11 4-4-0, class O2 0-4-4T, and class T9 4-4-0 locos. In BR days, there were two class O2 0-4-4T locos for the local passenger trains and the three class 0298 2-4-0WT Beattie Well Tanks retained for the Wenford Bridge china clay trains. The class O2 locos were superseded by LMS design 41xxx 2-6-2T locos in the 1960s.

In 1963, Wadebridge shed came under Western Region control and was re-coded 84E. At this time, the three Beattie Well Tanks were replaced by three GWR 1366 pannier tanks from St. Blazey shed.

After Wadebridge shed officially closed in 1964 although it had some further use until 1965, a class 03 diesel was allocated for the Wenford Bridge clay trains from Boscarne Junction to Wenford, but this was found to be underpowered and subject to breakdowns. It was replaced by a class 08 diesel which continued until the end of the china clay trains in
September 1983. Transhipment of the clay wagons took place at Boscarne Junction at which point a mainline diesel took over - typically a class 37 in later years.

The original Bodmin & Wadebridge shed although closed in 1895 survived until 1962. The LSWR shed was demolished in 1969.

Tickets from Michael Stewart and Dave Higson (6th May 1978)

Other web sites: The North Cornwall Railway & The Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway

See also Padstow Station


Wadebridge Station on 3rd September 1888, the opening day of the second station
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection



Wadebridge Station looking north in c.1910
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Wadebridge Station in October 1958
Photo by John M. Cramp (from 30937 Photographic Group web site)

34083 - 605 Squadron 'Battle of Britain Class' at Wadebridge Station in the 1960's
P
hoto by Rev. Peter Westall

Wadebridge Station looking south in August 1977. Although still open for freight
at this date the track is rusty.
Photo by Alan Young


'The Camel Train' , one of the last passenger train at Wadebridge on 6th May 1978
Copyright photo by Dave Higson from 'Dave's stuff 1974 - today' web site

Wadebridge Station looking south in 1982
Photo by John Law from UK & Elsewhere web site

Wadebridge Station looking north in May 1990
P
hoto by Nick Catford

Wadebridge Station in January 2000
P
hoto by Martin James

Click here for more pictures of Wadebridge Station


 

 

 

[Source: Martin James]



Last updated: Friday, 26-May-2017 08:53:14 BST
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