Totnes (Littlehempston) railway station
|Original company||South Devon Railway Trust|
|Operated by||South Devon Railway|
|1977||Riverside loop opened|
|1993||Access to the station opened|
|Stations on heritage railways in the United Kingdom|
|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|
|UK Railways portal|
Totnes (Littlehempston) station, previously known as Totnes Riverside station and Littlehempston Riverside station, is a railway station situated in Littlehempston in the English county of Devon. It is the southern terminus of the South Devon Railway, a steam operated heritage railway. Littlehempston station should not be confused with the Totnes main line station on the National Rail Exeter to Plymouth line, which is a 330 yards (300 m) walk away.
Totnes (Littlehempston) station is located on the east bank of the River Dart, adjacent to the main line railway. Although less than one mile from the centre of the town of Totnes, the surroundings are rural. A footpath and footbridge over the river form the only non-rail land access to the station, although a small jetty allows a water taxi to link the station with the centre of the town at some states of the tide.
The station has a single main platform, with a locomotive run round loop and a bay platform. The station building accommodates a booking office, whilst a rail van in the bay platform contains a small exhibition. A rail connection permits special trains to run directly between the South Devon line and the main line railway station. At the Buckfastleigh end of the station is a signal box and a level crossing, which provides the only access to the adjacent Totnes Rare Breeds Farm.
Prior to its preservation as a heritage railway, what is now the South Devon Railway was originally a branch line connecting Totnes to Buckfastleigh and Ashburton. Branch line trains joined the main line at a junction adjacent to the current site of Littlehempston station, crossed the railway bridge over the River Dart and terminated in the main line railway station.
When the line was first re-opened as a heritage line in 1969, the owners were unable to reach an agreement with British Rail for their trains to run into the main line railway station. Initially push-pull trains were used, controlled from an autocoach at one or both ends, and reversing just short of the junction.
However eventually land adjacent to the junction was acquired, and a loop constructed in 1977; a platform was added a few years later but there was no public route between the station and Totnes. At this time it appeared in the timetable as "Totnes Riverside". Visitors to the railway arriving by main line train had to catch a bus from Totnes to Buckfastleigh from where they could ride the train to Totnes and back, then return to Totnes by bus!
To avoid confusion to passengers expecting to be able to board heritage trains at Totnes, the station was renamed "Littlehempston Riverside" in the 1980s. At the same time a station building was located at Toller station on the Bridport branch, and re-erected at Littlehempston.
British Rail allowed heritage line trains into the main line station in 1985, and for three years regular services were run into that station. However the charges levied for use of the station proved not to be cost effective and so the trains eventually returned to using Littlehempston in 1988. In 1993 a new footbridge was built alongside the existing railway bridge, thus providing public access to the station from the town of Totnes and the main line railway station. With this the station was renamed again, to its current name of "Totnes (Littlehempston)".
The station is served by trains on all operating days of the South Devon Railway. Trains operate daily from late March to the end of October. On most days a single train set operates, providing four journeys a day in each direction. On busy days two train sets may operate, providing more journeys.
|Preceding station||Heritage railways||Following station|
|Terminus||South Devon Railway||Staverton|
GWR 5700 Class 5786 entering the station.
- Taylor, Alan; Treglown, Peter (May 1999). South Devon Railway - A Visitors Guide. South Devon Railway Trust. p. 15.
- Butcher, Alan C. (2006). Railways Restored 2007. Ian Allan Publishing. p. 150. ISBN 0-7110-3216-5.
- Taylor, Alan; Treglown, Peter (May 1999). South Devon Railway - A Visitors Guide. South Devon Railway Trust. pp. 19–22.
- Taylor, Alan; Treglown, Peter (May 1999). South Devon Railway - A Visitors Guide. South Devon Railway Trust. pp. 23–28.
- Oakley, Mike (2007). Devon Railway Stations. Wimbourne: The Dovecote Press. ISBN 978-1-904349-55-6.
- "Timetables". South Devon Railway Trust. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
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