Digby and Sowton railway station
|Digby and Sowton|
|Managed by||First Great Western|
|Number of platforms||1|
|Live arrivals/departures and station information
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Original company||British Rail|
|23 May 1995||Opened|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Digby and Sowton from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
|UK Railways portal|
|Exeter railway stations|
Digby and Sowton railway station is the most recently opened railway station on the Avocet Line in Devon, England, opening 23 May 1995. The station is unstaffed, however a computer ticket machine is installed selling tickets for immediate travel. As a result of this, the station is part of a new Penalty Fare Zone, where passengers could be charged a £20 penalty fare if a ticket is not purchased, prior to joining the train.
A small station known as Clyst St Mary and Digby Halt was opened by the London and South Western Railway on 1 June 1908 to serve Clyst St Mary and Digby Psychiatric Hospital. The 120 foot (37 m) long platforms were built from old railway sleepers. It was closed by the new British Railways on 27 September 1948.
The present Digby and Sowton station was funded by Devon County Council and Tesco Stores Limited; construction began on 9 November 1994 and it opened on 23 May 1995. It is situated about 380 yards (350 m) south of the site of the old station to serve new housing on the site of the now closed psychiatric hospital, and also a light industrial estate at nearby Sowton.
The station has been criticised for its location being a compromise between serving the industrial estate of Sowton and the retail development at Digby. By doing so, it has ended up as not being particularly close to either, resulting in a substantial walk to either location, which lie in opposite directions. It is also on a regular basis a victim of vandalism because it is not visible from nearby roads. Extensive CCTV has been installed in an attempt to tackle this problem.
The station serves the Sowton Industrial Estate via a long foot/cycle path that runs along the railway line and the housing estates around the former Digby Hospital through a step free access bridge, with divided sections for cycles and pedestrians.
The station is also a short walk to/from the Sandy Park rugby ground, the home of the Exeter Chiefs and of the closest stations to Exeter International Airport, the other being Pinhoe railway station but there is no suitable public transport access from Digby to the Airport, indeed from either station.
In 2009, it was included in a two-year scheme to improve local railway stations. Shelter space for passengers was doubled, better surface and lighting was installed, and a new footpath was created. The cycle network connecting stations along the Avocet Line from Exmouth to Exeter, including the Digby and Sowton station, was improved.
There has been considerable growth in passenger usage of Digby & Sowton. During the twelve months ended March 2003, over 120,000 people used the station, and this doubled within five years. In 2009, over 275,000 passengers used the rail station, making it one of the busiest unstaffed railway stations in the area.
The statistics cover twelve month periods that start in April.
All trains on the Avocet Line from Exmouth to Exeter St Davids call at Digby and Sowton. Beyond St Davids they generally continue to either Paignton or Barnstaple. Connections are available at Exeter Central for Pinhoe and stations to Waterloo; passengers for other main line stations change at Exeter St Davids.
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
|Topsham||First Great Western
- Oakley, Mike (2007). Devon Railway Stations. Wimbourne: The Dovecote Press. ISBN 978-1-904349-55-6.
- Maggs, Colin G. (1997) . The Exeter and Exmouth Railway. Locomotion Papers. Usk: Oakwood Press. p. 41. ISBN 0-85361-430-X. LP203.
- "Station Usage". Rail Statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Retrieved 2009-03-13.