Digby and Sowton railway station

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Digby and Sowton National Rail
Digby and Sowton
Location
Place Digby
Local authority Exeter
Coordinates 50°42′51″N 3°28′25″W / 50.71406°N 3.47354°W / 50.71406; -3.47354Coordinates: 50°42′51″N 3°28′25″W / 50.71406°N 3.47354°W / 50.71406; -3.47354
Grid reference SX960914
Operations
Station code DIG
Managed by First Great Western
Number of platforms 1
Live arrivals/departures and station information
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2002/03  120,505
2004/05 Increase 134,804
2005/06 Increase 155,822
2006/07 Increase 201,904
2007/08 Increase 247,452
2008/09 Increase 277,514
2009/10 Decrease 271,316
2010/11 Increase 326,914
2011/12 Increase 374,496
2012/13 Increase 742,622
History
Original company British Rail
23 May 1995 Opened
National RailUK railway stations
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
* 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.
Portal icon UK Railways portal

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,[1] 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.

History[edit]

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.[2]

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.[3] 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 was operated by Wessex Trains, until 31 March 2006 when First Great Western took over the franchise.

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.

Description[edit]

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.[4] The cycle network connecting stations along the Avocet Line from Exmouth to Exeter, including the Digby and Sowton station, was improved.[5]

Passenger volume[edit]

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.[6] In 2009, over 275,000 passengers used the rail station, making it one of the busiest unstaffed railway stations in the area.[7]

  2002-03 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Entries 60,818 68,208 78,811 101,063 125,299
Exits 59,687 66,596 77,011 100,891 122,153
Total 120,505 134,804 155,822 201,954 247,452

The statistics cover twelve month periods that start in April.

Services[edit]

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 National Rail Following station
Topsham   First Great Western
Avocet Line
  Polsloe Bridge

References[edit]