Digby and Sowton railway station

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Digby and Sowton National Rail
Digby and Sowton - fGWR 143619 arriving from Exmouth.JPG
Local authorityExeter
Coordinates50°42′50″N 3°28′26″W / 50.714°N 3.474°W / 50.714; -3.474Coordinates: 50°42′50″N 3°28′26″W / 50.714°N 3.474°W / 50.714; -3.474
Grid referenceSX960914
Station codeDIG
Managed byGreat Western Railway
Number of platforms1
DfT categoryF1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2013/14Increase 0.773 million
2014/15Decrease 0.572 million
2015/16Decrease 0.561 million
2016/17Increase 0.589 million
2017/18Increase 0.630 million
Original companyRailtrack
23 May 1995Opened
National RailUK 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 and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.

Digby and Sowton railway station is on the Avocet Line in Devon, England. 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.


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 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 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.

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.[1] The cycle network connecting stations along the Avocet Line from Exmouth to Exeter, including the Digby and Sowton station, was improved.[1]

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.[4] In 2009, over 275,000 passengers used the rail station, making it one of the busiest unstaffed railway stations in the area.[1]

  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.


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 London Waterloo; passengers for other main line stations change at Exeter St Davids.[5]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Newcourt   Great Western Railway
Avocet Line
  Polsloe Bridge


  1. ^ a b c d "Exeter rail station wins revamp cash". Express & Echo. 20 August 2009.
  2. ^ Oakley, Mike (2007). Devon Railway Stations. Wimbourne: The Dovecote Press. ISBN 978-1-904349-55-6.
  3. ^ Maggs, Colin G. (1997) [1980]. The Exeter and Exmouth Railway. Locomotion Papers. Usk: Oakwood Press. p. 41. ISBN 0-85361-430-X. LP203.
  4. ^ "Station Usage". Rail Statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Retrieved 13 March 2009.
  5. ^ Table 136 National Rail timetable, May 2016