Okehampton railway station, on the Dartmoor Railway
|Built by||London and South Western Railway|
|Original gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Owned by||Aggregate Industries Ltd|
|Operated by||Dartmoor Railway CIC |
|Length||15 1⁄2 miles (24.9 km)|
|Preserved gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Closed||1968 (West of Meldon to all traffic) 1972 (to regular passenger services from Okehampton to Exeter)|
|1997||Regular passenger services restarted by Dartmoor Railway|
The Dartmoor Railway is a 15 1⁄2-mile (24.9 km) long railway line in Devon, England. From Crediton the line parallels the Tarka Line to the site of the former Coleford Junction. Heading west, it then serves Sampford Courtenay, Okehampton and Meldon Quarry. The route from Coleford to Meldon is owned by Aggregate Industries, whilst the Coleford to Crediton section is owned by Network Rail. In the past freight trains served the ballast quarry at Meldon. The line is leased to and maintained by the Dartmoor Railway CIC, who operate some services and facilitate access to the line by other operators.
Great Western Railway run a public service between Exeter and Okehamptonon summer Sundays. Ballast and stone trains were formerly operated by one of the national freight operating companies. In 2011 the quarry was mothballed, leading to the suspension of ballast and stone trains. The line is also used occasionally by other operators for training purposes,and is visited from time to time by main line charter services via the connection to the national network at Crediton.
The route was originally part of the London and South Western Railway's West of England Main Line (route from Exeter to Plymouth), which opened between 1865 and 1879. In 1968, British Rail closed the line beyond Meldon as part of the Beeching cuts. The Exeter to Okehampton passenger service was withdrawn by British Rail in 1972.
Between 1972 and 1997 the line was used for railway ballast traffic from Meldon Quarry and occasional freight traffic to the remaining goods yard at Okehampton before its closure. Occasional charter and special trains were operated to Okehampton and Meldon Quarry during the passenger closure period. The railway reopened to regular passenger services in 1997 with the formation of Dartmoor Railway. A summer Sunday passenger service was introduced from Exeter to Okehampton as part of the Dartmoor Rover network.
British American Railway Services Ltd, a company created by Iowa Pacific Holdings of Chicago, became the new owner of the Dartmoor Railway CIC on 4 September 2008. The company announced its intention to develop freight, passenger and tourist services on the railway.
Volunteer support for the railway is provided by the Dartmoor Railway Supporters Association (DRSA). Volunteers assist the railway operation in many of its activities.
A proposal was made in 2009 to restore and reopen the disused down platform at Yeoford and extend Dartmoor Railway services to terminate there. At the time it was not possible to agree arrangements with Network Rail, who own Yeoford Station and the section of line from near the site of the former Coleford Junction towards Yeoford and Crediton. If this proposal were eventually achieved it could allow the extension of Dartmoor Railway passenger services and make interchange with Exeter - Barnstaple "Tarka line" trains possible.
|The annual passenger usage is based on sales of tickets in stated financial years from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. The statistics are for passengers arriving and departing from each station and cover twelve month periods that start in April. Please note that methodology may vary year on year.|
Passenger usage statistics relate only to the limited summer Sunday only National Rail services operated by Great Western Railway. They do not include the Heritage or Polar Express trains operated on the railway.
Heritage services run between Meldon Quarry and Okehampton, extended to Sampford Courtenay, Bow or the DR/Network Rail boundary on special event days. The former stations at North Tawton and Bow remain closed to passengers. Both are in private ownership and have no public access.
The heritage services use a variety of rolling stock, including a Class 205 "Thumper" unit restored to its original livery and number. Services are also operated using restored diesel locomotives in push-pull trains and top and tail mode with a variety of coaching and ex-EMU stock. Steam-hauled services have also operated from time to time.
Public train services
The service consists of four return trips between St James Park station in Exeter and Okehampton. These trains connect with bus services and heritage railway services at Okehampton, Tarka line rail services at Crediton and other national rail services at Exeter.
Devon & Cornwall Railways Ltd (a subsidiary of British American Railway Services Ltd) announced its intention to operate through services from Okehampton to Exeter in 2010, having made a track access application to Network Rail on 18 March 2010 to operate four return services each weekday between Okehampton and St James Park and a further two (plus one on Sundays) as far as Exeter St Davids. This service would have run under an "open access" licence. This was not realised, and the project is currently not being pursued.
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|Number and name||Origin||Wheel
Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU)
|Number and name||Origin||Class||Notes||Photograph|
|BR||59520 DTCL||British Rail Class 117||Operational.||-|
Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU)
|Number and name||Origin||Class||Notes||Photograph|
|BR||Units 60146, 60673 and 60827 Set No 205028 (1128)||British Rail Class 205||Unrestored.||-|
|BR||Units 60150, 60677 and 60831 Set No 205031 (1132)||British Rail Class 205||Restored, Out Of Service, 60677 not restored.||-|
Electric Multiple Unit (EMU)
|Origin||Number and name||Class||Notes||Photograph|
|BR||Units 61743, 61742 Set No 1589||British Rail Class 411 4-Cep||61743 Operational, 61742 stored.||Blue-Grey|
|BR||Unit 70273 Set No 1392||British Rail Class 411 4-Cep||Undergoing Restoration.||-|
|BR||Unit 76747, 62385, 70508 and 76818 Set No 1399||British Rail Class 421 4-Cig||76818 away at Eastleigh, 70508 a 4-CEP unit. This unit will be scrapped for spares due to storage costs, MBSO 62385 will go to the 4-VOP unit 3905.||-|
|BR||Unit 69332 Set No 2203||British Rail Class 421 4-Big||Used as catering facility.||-|
|BR||Unit 69310 Set No 7040||British Rail Class 421 4-Big||Used as catering facility.||-|
|BR||Unit 76397, 70904 and 76398 Set No 3905||British Rail Class 423 4-Vop||Under Restoration, Will leave railway due to termination of lease. it will gain MBSO 62385 from 4-Cig unit 1399.||-|
|BR||Unit 76277 Set No 8005 'The Rocket'||British Rail Class 438 4-Tc||Operational.||-|
|British Railways||S34249||MK.I Brake Corridor Second (Lab 11)||Operational.|
|British Railways||35327||MK.I Brake Corridor Second||Operational.|
|British Railways||13436||MK.II Corridor First||Operational.|
|British Railways||3411||MK.II Open First||Stored,|
|British Railways||3419||MK.II Open First||Stored,|
|British Railways||9501||MK.II Brake Open Second||Stored,|
|British Railways||6181||MK.II Open Second||Stored,|
|British Railways||5920||MK.II Tourist Second Open||Stored,|
|British Railways||3387||MK.II Open First||Stored,|
|British Railways||3353||MK.II Open First||Stored,|
|British Railways||6002||MK.II Tourist Second Open||Stored,|
|British Railways||10595||MK.III Convertible Sleeper||Used as overnight sleeper|
|British Railways||10611||MK.III Convertible Sleeper||Used as overnight sleeper|
|British Railways||10518||MK.III Convertible Sleeper||Used as overnight sleeper|
Wagons and other rolling stock
|British Railways||924848||4 wheel steel flatbed||Operational|
|British Railways||726277||4 wheel steel open Dace||Operational|
|British Railways||290133||4 wheel steel open Zander||Operational|
|PO||999045||4 wheel Class B Fuel Tank||Stored|
|British Railways||994xxx||Bogie 3-plank Open Sturgeon A||Operational|
|British Railways||992929||Dogfish 4w Steel Hopper||Operational|
|British Railways||9983187||Dogfish 4w Steel Hopper||Operational|
|British Railways||889022||Ferry Van||Operational.|
|Southern Railway||LDS55625||Pillbox 4w Brake Van||Under restoration.|
|London, Midland and Scottish Railway||731411||4w Brake Van||Operational.|
|British Railways||96212||Mk 1 GUV||Operational.|
|British Railways||87554||Blue Spot Four wheel Fish Van||Body only.|
|British Railways||94691||Four-wheel CCT||Stored.|
- Dartmoor Railway Supporters Association website.
- Dartmoor Railway website.
- Meldon Viaduct Station.
- Sampford Courtenay Station.
- Okehampton Station.
- "About the railway". Friends of Dartmoor Railway. Archived from the original on 22 March 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
- Heritage Railway, Pub. Heritage Railway Magazine. Issue 116, 2 October 2008 - 29 October 2008. P. 18.
- "Volunteers". Dartmoor Railway Supporters Association. Retrieved 25 March 2013. Dartmoor Railway Supporters Association website Volunteers page
- "News". Dartmoor Railway. Retrieved 2 October 2009. Dartmoor Railway website Newspage
- "Dartmoor Railway Applies to Run to Exeter" - Broadbent, S; RAIL Magazine news article, Issue 641, 7–20 April 2010, p.18