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Journey by Journey => Shorter journeys in Devon => Topic started by: Phil on February 14, 2008, 09:05:29 pm

Title: Shorter journeys in Devon - from Exeter to Plymouth - General Information
Post by: Phil on February 14, 2008, 09:05:29 pm
Exeter to Exmouth - the Avocet Line

Originally built by the London and South Western Railway, the "Avocet Line" runs from Exeter to Exmouth.

Description of line

The line follows the Exe Estuary for most of its route, giving views of the estuary. The line is named after the Pied Avocet, which live in the estuary.

The route is a single line, with passing place at Topsham. Stations served are as follows:

Exeter St Davids
Exeter Central
St James' Park
Polsloe Bridge
Digby & Sowton
Lympstone Commando
Lympstone Village

At Exmouth, there is a ferry service to Starcross on the opposite shore of the River Exe.

Passenger services on the line were until recently provided by Wessex Trains, and since 2006 by First Great Western, using Class 150 or 153s either singly or in multiples. However, from December 2007 First Great Western introduced Class 142 "Pacers" to release other DMUs for refurbishment.

The section in Exeter is shared with South West Trains West of England services to London Waterloo as far as Exmouth Junction (between St James Park and Polsloe Bridge).

Service offered

The daytime frequency is a train every 30 mins, although trains only stop once an hour at Polsloe Bridge, St James Park, Exton and Lympstone Commando. The latter two stations are request stops.

Known issues

Exeter to Barnstaple - the Tarka Line

Description of line

The Tarka Line, named after the main character in Henry Williamson's novel 'Tarka the Otter', runs from Exeter to Barnstaple. The line follows the River Yeo and the River Taw for some of its route. At Coleford Junction there is a branch to Okehampton, which has recently reopened to passenger trains as the Dartmoor Railway.

Stations served by the line are as follows:

Exeter St Davids
Newton St. Cyres
Morchard Road (for Morchard Bishop)
Kings Nympton
Portsmouth Arms

Service Offered
Passenger services on the line are operated by First Great Western using Class 150 or 153s. During the summer months a Sunday-only service operates (on behalf of Devon County Council) between Exeter Central and Okehampton. From December 2007 First Great Western introduced Class 142 "Pacers" to release other DMUs for refurbishment.

Parts of the line are single track, meaning that trains travelling in opposite directions must sometimes wait for each other. The full journey from Barnstaple to Exeter takes just over 1 hour.

(thanks to devon_metro for help with this entry)

Exeter to Torquay and Paignton - the Riviera Line
Description of line

Running from Exeter to the "English Riviera" resorts of Torbay, the Riviera Line serves the following stations:

Exeter St Davids
Exeter St Thomas
Dawlish Warren
Newton Abbot

Services offered
Local passenger services on the line are operated by First Great Western. Most days see an approximately hourly service calling at all stations.

Other services on the line include First Great Western express services from London Paddington, South West Trains from London Waterloo, and CrossCountry services from the Midlands and the North. These primarily call at Exeter St Davids, Dawlish, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot, Torquay, and Paignton. Other long-distance services of the same operators call at Exeter, Dawlish, Teignmouth and Newton Abbot.

Trains going towards Paignton are described as travelling in the "down" direction; those towards Exeter "up". The line is double track throughout except for the junction at Newton Abbot where trains are turned off the main line onto the Paignton branch. Loops at Dawlish Warren allow slow trains to be overtaken, as does the flexible layout at Newton Abbot where all three platforms can access the Paignton branch. At Exeter St Davids, Riviera Line trains generally use platforms 1 and 3 as these allow access to and from Exeter Central and the Avocet line; starting or terminating trains may also use platforms 5 and 6. At Paignton down trains may arrive in the up platform; if they arrive in the down platform they must shunt across to the up before departure, generally via the sidings at Goodrington.

Known issues

The speed limit between Exeter/Paignton/Plymouth reaches a maximum of 100mph. On the Paignton branch the speed limit is 60 mph. The sea wall section is signalled for trains to run either way on the up (landward) line to allow for restricted working in the event of sea damage to the down line.

The Paignton branch has been identified as a "fragile route" where where the addition of any further loco hauled traffic would have a significant impact on the residual life of track and/or structures. The three stations on the branch are currently under consideration for the provision of improved facilities but this is dependent on third-party funding being made available.

(thanks to devon_metro for help with this entry)

Exeter to Plymouth
Description of line

Stations served on this route:

Exeter St Davids
Exeter St Thomas
Dawlish Warren
Newton Abbot

Description of line and known issues

From Exeter St Davids the line runs south alongside the River Exe to Dawlish Warren where it then runs along the South Devon Railway sea wall, a stretch liable to sea damage which closes the line from time to time. It then follows the River Teign to Newton Abbot. Here some main line trains diverge to Paignton (see above), while those continuing to Plymouth are faced with a series of steep inclines and sharp curves as they traverse Dartmoor ^ the difficult route being a legacy of Brunel's ill-fated atmospheric railway scheme.

(thanks to devon_metro for help with this entry)


Note: As always, additional information from people who regularly use the services or who have some background or local knowledge would be much appreciated. If you feel you have something to offer, please don't hesitate to drop me a line. I'll gladly post credits for anything used. Thanks ever so much! ~Phil

Edited to add Newcourt

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