Rural line closed 50 years ago but shelter was saved
THE history of the Exe Valley railway line has been laid bare at the new Bampton Heritage Centre, which opened last week.
Next Thursday, October 3, marks half a century since trains last ran over the line, which once linked Exeter St David's station with Dulverton via Tiverton and Bampton.
At Dulverton the Exe Valley trains met those running on another closed line, that between Barnstaple and Taunton which succumbed to cuts in the Beeching era in 1966.
However, one of the buildings that once served passengers on the Exe Valley is still doing so today, albeit in a different location.
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The Great Western Railway's iron "pagoda" shelter from Cove, between Tiverton and Bampton, was transplanted to the West Somerset Railway where it was joined with the platform from Montacute, on the Taunton to Yeovil branch line which closed in 1964, to form Doniford Halt.
Today the Halt primarily serves the nearby Haven Holiday Centre and a family farm attraction.
Visitors to the Halt on October 3 will find that it has temporarily become Penhelig as part of the WSR's autumn steam gala, which takes place between October 3 and 6 and has a Cambrian Railways theme.
The Gala will feature an hourly service of trains over the 20 miles of track between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead worked by eight steam locomotives, some specially hired in for the occasion.
Visit www.west-somer set-railway.co.uk for more information.