Torre railway station

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National Rail
LocationTorquay, Devon, Torbay
United Kingdom
Coordinates50°28′22″N 3°32′47″W / 50.4729°N 3.5463°W / 50.4729; -3.5463Coordinates: 50°28′22″N 3°32′47″W / 50.4729°N 3.5463°W / 50.4729; -3.5463
Grid referenceSX903648
Managed byGreat Western Railway
Other information
Station codeTRR
ClassificationDfT category F2
Original companySouth Devon Railway
Pre-groupingGreat Western Railway
Post-groupingGreat Western Railway
Key dates
1848 (1848)Opened as Torquay
1859Renamed Torre
2014/15Increase 0.275 million[1]
2015/16Increase 0.307 million[1]
2016/17Decrease 0.293 million[1]
2017/18Decrease 0.289 million[1]
2018/19Decrease 0.281 million[1]
Invalid designation
FeatureTorre railway station
Designated10 January 1975
Reference no.1218006[2]

Torre railway station is a suburban station on the Riviera Line in Torquay, Devon, England. It is 219 miles 12 chains (352.69 km) measured from London Paddington. The station is managed by Great Western Railway but is not staffed; except for two trains in each direction per day, it is only served by local services, most notably as a commuter station for students for Torquay Girls' Grammar School and Torquay Boys' Grammar School, as many students commute from surrounding areas.


A 7 ft (2,134 mm) broad gauge branch was opened by the South Devon Railway from Newton Abbot on 18 December 1848, this station being the terminus and known as Torquay.[3] This line was extended by the Dartmouth and Torbay Railway on 2 August 1859, which opened the present Torquay railway station at Livermead so the original station was renamed "Torre".[4]

The station had a small extension to the single platform and a train shed built in 1855 but with the opening of the Dartmouth and Torbay Railway, a new platform had to be provided. The original station can still be seen standing alongside the track just north of the platform.

Goods traffic was handled from October 1849. The goods yard was originally at the west end of the station. The original goods shed was destroyed by fire in 1857 and eventually replaced in 1865 by a stone building alongside the railway on the Newton Abbot side of the station.[5] A coal yard was built on the west side of the station.

The South Devon Railway amalgamated with the Great Western Railway on 1 February 1876. The railway had originally been just a single track, but on 26 March 1882 the line to the north was doubled and a second platform opened. On 20 May 1892 the line was converted to 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge.[4]

The first signal box was opened in 1883 at the London end of the northbound platform. This was replaced in 1921 by a new three-storey building on that platform. The original signalling used just 16 levers; the new box contained 42.[6]

The Great Western Railway was nationalised into British Railways on 1 January 1948. The buildings on the second platform were demolished in the 1960s and replaced by a simple brick-built shelter. Goods traffic was withdrawn on 4 December 1967.

Preceding station Historical railways Following station
Newton Abbot   Great Western Railway   Torquay


On the afternoon of 17 June 1946 a passenger train from London Paddington station to Paignton collided with the rear of a freight train that was stationary north of Torre station. The signalman had made an error in setting the line as clear and so the passenger train had been allowed to leave Kingskerswell thinking the line was clear. Both lines were blocked and over 3,000 passengers had to be carried by bus between Newton Abbot and Torre.

Another collision happened on 26 April 1958 when a passenger train approaching from Newton Abbot passed through two danger signals and collided with a freight train that was shunting in the station.[4]


The station is situated on Newton Road (the road from Torquay to Newton Abbot, just above the traffic lights where Avenue Road joins it).

To the left of the station entrance is a Halfords store which is built on the cramped site of the first goods shed which burnt down in 1857. To the right is the original terminus building of the line from Newton Abbot which is now used by an electrical manufacturer and, beyond that, the 1865 stone goods shed is now a joinery workshop.[6] The second station building is used by a furniture shop which has extended onto the platform by building a concrete block wall in line with the pillars of the canopy.

The entrance passageway through this building opens onto the platform for trains towards Paignton. Access to the opposite platform is by way of a covered footbridge and it is on this platform that the tall but disused signal box stands. Chapel Hill rises behind this platform .

The station buildings are Grade II listed.[2]


Torre is served by Great Western Railway local trains in both directions on an approximately half-hourly basis during the day. Most trains run between Exmouth and Paignton, though some start/finish at Newton Abbot; on Sundays the service is less frequent and most trains only run between Exeter St Davids and Paignton.[7] Some longer-distance trains normally call here, such as the GWR Paignton to London Paddington route. As of December 2009 there are no longer trains to London Waterloo.

As the station lies on the Riviera Line it sees many mainline charter services (including steam hauled) pass through, such as the Torbay Express which runs between Bristol Temple Meads and Kingswear on selected summer Sundays.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Newton Abbot   Great Western Railway
Riviera Line

Torquay engine house[edit]

The engine house

The South Devon Railway was designed to be worked as an atmospheric railway, the trains propelled by stationary engines that created a vacuum in a pipe laid between the rails. An engine house was built a short distance to the north of the Torquay terminus that would have powered trains up the 1 in 75 (13%) gradient from the station, but it was never brought into use and conventional locomotives worked the trains instead.[4]

The building still stands in Torquay Road near the Lidl supermarket (at 50°29′07″N 3°33′12″W / 50.4854°N 3.5534°W / 50.4854; -3.5534). It was used for many years by the Longpark Pottery but is currently a fruit and vegetable warehouse. It can be glimpsed above the cutting on the right of trains approaching Torre from Newton Abbot.


In the Torbay Council Mayoral Vision, it is proposed that this station is re-branded to become 'Torquay Central Station', and the current Torquay Railway Station be renamed 'Torquay Seafront' although as of 2016 this has not materialized.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e Annual estimated intercity rail passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at this station from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
  2. ^ a b Historic England. "Torre Railway Station (1218006)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  3. ^ Gregory, R H (1982). The South Devon Railway. Salisbury: Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-286-2.
  4. ^ a b c d Potts, C R (1998). The Newton Abbot to Kingswear Railway (1844–1988). Oxford: Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-387-7.
  5. ^ Sheppard, Geof (2005). "Goods Traffic at Torre". Broadsheet. Broad Gauge Society (53): 4–11.
  6. ^ a b Oakley, Mike (2007). Devon Railway Stations. Wimbourne: The Dovecote Press. ISBN 978-1-904349-55-6.
  7. ^ Table 135 National Rail timetable, May 2016
  8. ^ "Mayors Vision – Action Framework Plan" (PDF). Torbay Council. pp. 30–33. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 August 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2009.

Further reading[edit]

  • Beck, Keith; Copsey, John (1990). The Great Western in South Devon. Didcot: Wild Swan Publication. ISBN 0-906867-90-8.
  • Cooke, RA (1984). Track Layout Diagrams of the GWR and BR WR, Section 14: South Devon. Harwell: RA Cooke.