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Okehampton railway station

Coordinates: 50°43′57″N 3°59′47″W / 50.73244°N 3.99632°W / 50.73244; -3.99632
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National Rail
Okehampton station in 2022
General information
LocationOkehampton, West Devon, Devon
Coordinates50°43′57″N 3°59′47″W / 50.73244°N 3.99632°W / 50.73244; -3.99632
Grid referenceSX592944
Managed byGreat Western Railway
Platforms3 (Only 1 in use)
Other information
Station codeOKE
Original companyLondon and South Western Railway
Post-groupingSouthern Railway
Key dates
1997Heritage services start
2019Heritage services end
2021National rail services resume
2017/18Decrease 4,984
2018/19Increase 5,320
2019/20Increase 6,434
2021/22Increase 54,904
2022/23Increase 0.228 million
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

Okehampton railway station is a terminus railway station on the Dartmoor line serving the town of Okehampton in Devon, England. The station closed to regular traffic in 1972, but heritage and occasional mainline services ran from 1997 to 2019. Regular railway services resumed in November 2021.


Okehampton station in 1970.

The station opened in 1871 when the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) extended its line from Sampford Courtenay. Services were extended further west to Lydford with the inauguration of Meldon Viaduct in 1874.[1] Constructed to rival the South Devon Railway route to Plymouth, the completion of the LSWR's route to Plymouth saw Okehampton become an important junction with lines to Padstow and Bude as well as Plymouth. Boat trains carrying passengers from ocean liners calling at Stonehouse Pool, Plymouth and prestige services such as the Atlantic Coast Express and Devon Belle all used the route. From 1960 to 1964 it was the terminus of a car-carrying train from Surbiton.[citation needed]

With the publication of the Beeching Report in 1963, the line to Bude was put forward for closure as was part of the Exeter to Plymouth Line which was to be cut back to Okehampton.[1] The local press were surprised at this decision, since many small towns had their railway services cut, yet Okehampton survived with a population under 4,000. Its survival prompted questions as to why the line should remain open when others, such as the Avocet Line which saw far more traffic, were proposed for closure. It was said that at the time Okehampton had about 50 regular users per day and a handful of season ticket holders.[2]

The Avocet Line was saved from closure, but Okehampton lost its passenger services from 1972. The line survived, however, for the purposes of freight thanks to the activities of the British Rail ballast quarry at Meldon, three miles from Okehampton,[1] which had an output of 300,000 tons per year.[3] The line to the quarry closed in 2011.[1]


  • William Hodge 1871[4] - 1898[5] (formerly station master at North Tawton)
  • Frank Russell 1898 – 1902[6] (formerly station master at Halwill Junction, afterward stationmaster at Eastleigh)
  • J. B. Lodder 1902 – 1905[7] (afterward station master at Launceston)
  • Walter Hinde until 1909 (afterward station master at Ilfracombe)
  • Edwin Charles Watkins 1909 – 1919[8] (formerly station master at Barnstaple, afterward station master at Padstow)
  • F. S. Stretch 1919[9] – 1921 (formerly station master at Padstow, afterward station master at Sidmouth)
  • Frederick Brazier 1921 – 1926 (afterward station master at Wadebridge)
  • Mr. Phillips 1926 – 1929[10]
  • Mr Whitford 1929 – 1933
  • E. E. Northcott 1933 – 1934[11]
  • Percy C. Hayman 1934 – 1940[12] (afterward station master at Templecombe)
  • H. Pengelly 1940 – 1945[13] (afterward station master at Exeter Central)

1997 to 2019[edit]

A heritage train operated by a Class 205 in 2009

As part of a local partnership scheme initiated and led by Devon County Council, Okehampton station was re-opened in 1997 and a youth hostel was opened in the old goods shed, providing an activity centre as well.[14] The Dartmoor Railway operated heritage passenger services from the station, running to Sampford Courtenay and Meldon. A summer Sunday service from Exeter to Okehampton operated as part of the Dartmoor Sunday Rover network.[citation needed]

The station building, which was used by Devon Training for Skills after 1972, was restored and reopened incorporating an independently owned model shop and café. After temporary closure during a change in railway ownership in 2008, the cafe was reopened by the Friends of Dartmoor Railway but closed in 2019. A craft centre previously operated on one of the platforms. This now houses a small exhibition and museum showing the history of the railway and station.[clarification needed]

British American Railway Services, a new company created by Iowa Pacific Holdings of Chicago, became the owner of the Dartmoor Railway on 4 September 2008. The company said it would develop freight, passenger and tourist services on the railway.[15] This was never achieved. The last heritage service operated on 24 December 2019.

2021 reopening[edit]

In November 2017, the government included the reopening of the line from Exeter to Okehampton as part of its plans to expand the network.[16] Chris Grayling, the secretary of state for transport, wrote to local MPs in January 2018 to inform them of the details.[17]

In January 2020, British American Railway Services announced that due to financial problems, it intended to sell all its British operations, including the Dartmoor Railway.[18] The United Kingdom government's November 2020 Spending Review included a commitment to restore passenger services and £40 million was allocated for reopening the Dartmoor line in the March 2021 government budget.[19]

It was announced on 19 March 2021 that Okehampton station would reopen with regular services by the end of the year, funded as part of the government's Restoring Your Railway programme.[20] Ownership of the northern half (platform 3) of the station was transferred from Devon County Council to Network Rail in July 2021 for £1. The council retains control of the rest of the station (platforms 1 and 2) and is responsible for maintenance of the footbridge.[21] The station and the line reopened on 20 November 2021[22][23] with a train every two hours and was increased to hourly in May 2022.[20]

In January 2024 Storm Henk blew the roof off the station footbridge resulting the closure of the station.[24][25]


Although Okehampton is not a staffed station it has a ticket machine, help point, public address system, information screens, CCTV and Wi-Fi. In May 2021, GWR said they would work with the local community to add new facilities including a cafe, Dartmoor National Park visitor centre, a shop, and toilets.[26][27]


A GWR Class 150 with an Okehampton to Exeter service

All services at Okehampton are operated by Great Western Railway. The service is one train per hour to Exeter St Davids, with most services continuing to Exeter Central.[28][29]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Great Western RailwayTerminus
Disused railways
Maddaford Moor Halt   British Rail Western Region
Bridestowe   British Rail Western Region
  Sampford Courtenay
Meldon Viaduct   Dartmoor Railway
  Future services  
Great Western RailwayTerminus


Both Railfuture and Anthony Steen (who was MP for Totnes at the time[when?]) have proposed the reinstatement of the line between Okehampton and Bere Alston, thereby reconnecting the station with Plymouth.[30] The reopening of the link would restore the continuous circuit of railway linking the towns around Dartmoor. On 18 March 2008, Devon County Council backed a separate proposal by developers Kilbride Community Rail to construct 750 houses in Tavistock that included reopening part of this route from Bere Alston to a new railway station in Tavistock.[31]

The line's reopening would provide an alternative route to Plymouth and the Cornish Main Line in the event of engineering work or storms on the sea wall near Dawlish, although that would entail a reversal by GWR trains at Exeter St Davids and at Plymouth for all trains continuing to Cornwall. Reopening the line would also maintain rail links in the long-term should the line around Dawlish succumb to the sea, as it did on 5 February 2014.[32][33]

Shortly after the Okehampton railway station was reopened there was plans for another Okehampton station to be opened called Okehampton Parkway. On 10 May 2024 it was announced that this new station would be known as Okehampton Interchange[34]


The Devon Coast to Coast Cycleway Route 27 created by Sustrans passes the station.

A dedicated service 118 rail link bus service links Okehampton station with the town centre and Tavistock. It is timed to connect with train services at the station.[35]



  1. ^ a b c d Holland 2014, p. 20.
  2. ^ "Small railway station that survived axe now flourishes". Exeter Express and Echo. 15 October 2006. p. 4.
  3. ^ Thomas 1975, p. 103.
  4. ^ "1838–1919 Clerical Staff". London and South Western Railway: 268. 1838. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  5. ^ "Changes in L. & S.W. Railway Station-Masters". Western Times. England. 7 May 1898. Retrieved 7 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  6. ^ "Mr. F. Russell". Western Times. England. 28 July 1902. Retrieved 7 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. ^ "Various". Cornish & Devon Post. England. 7 January 1905. Retrieved 7 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. ^ "Padstow. Retirement of Mr. E.C. Watkins". Cornish Guardian. England. 10 December 1926. Retrieved 7 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. ^ "Mr. F.S. Stretch". North Devon Journal. England. 2 October 1919. Retrieved 7 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. ^ "Okehampton's New Stationmaster". Western Times. England. 22 February 1929. Retrieved 7 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  11. ^ "Okehampton Presentation". Western Times. England. 18 January 1935. Retrieved 7 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  12. ^ "Promotion for Stationmaster". Western Times. England. 6 December 1940. Retrieved 7 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  13. ^ "Presentation". Western Times. England. 14 September 1945. Retrieved 7 July 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  14. ^ "YHA Okehampton". Matlock, Derbyshire: YHA. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
  15. ^ Heritage Railway. No. 116. Mortons Media Groups. 2 October 2008. p. 18. {{cite magazine}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ "Connecting people: a strategic vision for rail" (PDF). Department for Transport. November 2017.
  17. ^ French, Tom (30 January 2018). "Government prepares plans to introduce regular train services to Okehampton". Okehampton Times. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  18. ^ Pitt, Sarah (9 January 2020). "Dartmoor Railway is put up for sale". Okehampton Times. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  19. ^ "Budget 2021: Okehampton-Exeter train route receives £40m". BBC News. 4 March 2021. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  20. ^ a b "Dartmoor line rail services will be restored for first time in half a century". GOV.UK. Department for Transport. 19 March 2021. Retrieved 30 December 2022.
  21. ^ Holden, Alan (4 July 2021). "Dartmoor Line and Okehampton railway station purchased by Network Rail". RailAdvent. Retrieved 30 December 2022.
  22. ^ "Government restores the Dartmoor Line as services resume for first time in half a century from 20 November". Network Rail. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  23. ^ Kennedy, Catherine (12 October 2021). "How engineers restored the abandoned Dartmoor railway line in just nine months". New Civil Engineer. Retrieved 30 December 2022.
  24. ^ "Storm Henk: Heavy rain and strong winds batter parts of UK". BBC News. 2 January 2024. Retrieved 2 January 2024.
  25. ^ Seaman, Molly (2 January 2024). "Damaged footbridge roof rips off and blows onto railway line". Devon Live. Retrieved 2 January 2024.
  26. ^ Clinnick, Richard (19 May 2021). "Okehampton on track for passengers to return in December". Rail. No. 931. Bauer Media Group. pp. 16–17.
  27. ^ "Tickets available for Dartmoor Line services ahead of launch next month". RailAdvent. 13 October 2021.
  28. ^ "Train times: Exeter to Barnstaple and Okehampton" (PDF). Great Western Railway. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  29. ^ Table 136 National Rail timetable, May 2022
  30. ^ "Rail line will be lost to the sea". Western Morning News. 3 May 2006. p. 6.
  31. ^ Harris, Nigel (2008). "Taking trains back to Tavistock". Rail. No. 590. Bauer. pp. 40–45.
  32. ^ "Alternative to coast rail line lacks support". Western Morning News. 4 January 2006. p. 2.
  33. ^ "Devon and Cornwall storm causes 'devastation'". BBC News. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  34. ^ "I bet you didn't know the name of the new Okehampton station?". news.GWR. GWR. Retrieved 14 May 2024.
  35. ^ "Rail Link bus for Okehampton station". The Dartmoor Line. Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership. 12 November 2021.


  • Holland, Julian (2014) [2013]. Exploring Britain's Lost Railways. Times Books. ISBN 978-0-00-794172-8.
  • Thomas, David St. John (1975). A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain: The West Country. David & Charles.

External links[edit]