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Author Topic: Ilfracombe Branch  (Read 6422 times)
FlyingDutchman
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« on: November 22, 2009, 10:25:03 pm »

They could reopen the link from Branstable to Ilfracombe, to help passenger to get to the new ferry service from Ilfracombe to Swansea

I am not sure how much of the branch is there
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RichardB
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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2009, 02:36:25 pm »

Crossing the Taw at Barnstaple would be the main problem.  The line has been built on through Braunton too.

The first couple of miles from Ilfracombe to Mortehoe is now a very nice walk.  Very well worth it.  You even get to go through a short tunnel.
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34104
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« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2009, 06:02:39 pm »

There was a failed scheme in the early/mid 1970's to takeover the Barnstaple- Ilfracombe line when the trackbed and infrastructure was still in place.From what i remember,a few people who put quite a bit of money into getting the scheme off the ground were not pleased because they didn't get their cash back when it folded,details are hazy but i'm sure something like that happened.Pity,because the line could have done for Ilfracombe what the WSR has done for Minehead,although it could be argued that the lines were relatively close and may have taken some of each others business.Can't really see lines like this one reopening unless there is a genuine change in political thinking at the top and a commiment to provide major funding needed to reinstate bridges,stations etc, as stated by Richard.You never know,but i won't be holding my breath.
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vacman
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2009, 12:25:49 pm »

Ilfracombe is a prime example of a line that "should never have closed", it remained busy right up until closure despite it being heavilly run down in it's final years, there's not an awful lot in the way of the old track bed, it was double track in places, including through the twin bore tunnels at the Ilfracombe end which would be ideal as this part of the line is a cycle/foot path so if the railway was re-opened the path could be retained and put through the "other" tunnel bore.

Main thing in the way is the lack of bridge at Barnstaple, also, Ilfracombe suffered from it's station being on top of a big hill above the town.
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TerminalJunkie
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« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2009, 01:32:59 pm »

Main thing in the way is the lack of bridge at Barnstaple

Actually, the main things in the way are Braunton Police Station and the sheltered housing block behind this signal post:
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Andy
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« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2009, 05:12:33 pm »

I agree with Vacman that this was a dumb closure (one of several in the early 70s, with Minehead, Swanage and Bridport also springing to mind) think that the main hope -albeit a slight one - for a reopening in North Devon would concern the Barnstaple-Bideford line which, as reported at the beginning of the month, commands some support at local authority level.

http://www.thisisnorthdevon.co.uk/news/Support-reopening-Bideford-Barnstaple-rail-link/article-1470387-detail/article.html
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2019, 06:54:49 pm »

Interesting very early cine film of a journey into Ilfracombe

https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-view-from-an-engine-front-ilfracombe-1898-online

Quote
This exciting trip through the Devonian countryside was one of several ‘phantom ride’ films made in 1898 by dynamic early film producers the Warwick Trading Company. Phantom rides were films in which cameras were attached to the front of trains or trams, enabling viewers to experience their movement vicariously.

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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2019, 06:57:12 pm »

Other rail interest films - https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/collection/railways-on-film
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Umberleigh
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2019, 06:43:32 pm »

There was a failed scheme in the early/mid 1970's to takeover the Barnstaple- Ilfracombe line when the trackbed and infrastructure was still in place.From what i remember,a few people who put quite a bit of money into getting the scheme off the ground were not pleased because they didn't get their cash back when it folded,details are hazy but i'm sure something like that happened.Pity,because the line could have done for Ilfracombe what the WSR has done for Minehead,although it could be argued that the lines were relatively close and may have taken some of each others business.Can't really see lines like this one reopening unless there is a genuine change in political thinking at the top and a commiment to provide major funding needed to reinstate bridges,stations etc, as stated by Richard.You never know,but i won't be holding my breath.

My recollection is that there were promises that a German businessman would match-fund the investors (I could be mistaken!). I also recall that the closure of the Ilfracombe section was a condition of the continued survival of the Tarka line. It was a tragedy that this line closed, especially as BR continued to run summer specials to Barnstaple and then stick everyone onto coaches for the connection to Ilfracombe.

However, in my opinion thebest hope for this trackbed is light rail along the Barnstaple to Braunton section to alleviate the chronic road congestion between those two towns. You could, of course, extend this to Ilfracombe, but the old station is in a terrible location
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onthecushions
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2019, 09:25:12 am »


Many of the Beeching closures were of difficult lines, because of curvature, gradients or station siting.

The Ilfracombe branch had two miles of 1/36 climb to Mortehoe.

The terminal station, high up above the town was a SR gem. I saw it just after closure complete with awnings and  ornamental wrought iron gates identical to those at Waterloo. Why do we smash these things up?

OTC
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Witham Bobby
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2019, 10:03:50 am »


Many of the Beeching closures were of difficult lines, because of curvature, gradients or station siting.

The Ilfracombe branch had two miles of 1/36 climb to Mortehoe.

The terminal station, high up above the town was a SR gem. I saw it just after closure complete with awnings and  ornamental wrought iron gates identical to those at Waterloo. Why do we smash these things up?

OTC

And very many level crossings - staffed during the hours of service or resident crossing keepers.  Must have had a very high payroll cost.

As a early-years activist in the re-opening of the WSR, I was very aware of the Ilfracombe line's closure, the preservation efforts, and the messy breakdown of those efforts.

BR(WR) Bristol Division was very enthusiastic about reducing the size of their operation during the 1960s and 70s
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RichardB
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2019, 09:43:56 pm »

A lot of either the Ministry of Transport or BR files on line closures are held at the National Archives in Kew.  I've gone through many for Devon & Cornwall lines.  One of the things I find most fascinating are the passenger counts.  Here are the ones for Ilfracombe - sadly they illustrate all too well why the line was closed.
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infoman
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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2019, 05:58:56 am »

Thanks for the info,where can I find passenger numbers for other stations?

In my case Parson Street from the last THIRTY years.

Thank you.
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RichardB
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2019, 10:32:47 am »

Before the ORR Estimates of Station Usage, it was very hit and miss and, unless you are lucky, it is not possible to obtain passenger usage figures.

However in the case of Parson St and other ex-Avon County Council stations, the Council organised passenger counts at each of the stations twice a year, in August and November.  I've attached the 1981 - 88 count data which I had from my time at Bath Spa and working to promote Oldfield Park.  I have no idea whether these counts are still going or how long they were done until.  I'd suggest contacting the Severnside CRP -   https://www.severnside-rail.org.uk/contact-us/  .  Another poster may know and indeed have the figures.
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johnneyw
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« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2019, 11:01:47 am »

Try the FOSBR website (Friends of Bristol Suburban Railways) for some of most recent passenger counts.

http://www.fosbr.org.uk/

There used to be more counts until relatively recently but getting enough volunteers has not always been achievable. Having longer trains on the Severn Beach Line, has made more counters necessary which has compounded the problem.
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