Sunday, 2 October 2016

holsworthy railway station 50 years ago shut down -3 October 1966[1] Closed

Parliamentary authority to construct a line from Okehampton to Bude had first been obtained as far back as 1865 with the passing of the Bude Canal and Launceston Junction Railway Act (c.cclxiii). However, this scheme was never put into action and the construction powers lapsed. In 1873 new powers were obtained by the Devon and Cornwall Railway in the shape of the Devon and Cornwall Railway (Western Extensions) Act (c.cxii) which authorised a line from Meldon Junction to Holsworthy where a terminus was to be constructed; Bude was not, at the time, considered important enough to warrant its own station.[2] In 1874 the Devon and Cornwall Railway was purchased by the London and South Western Railway (LSWR), commencing construction on the line the following year.[3]
Derriton Viaduct
The station was opened along with the single track line on 20 January 1879 and the LSWR began operating a smart horse-bus service to Bude in connection with the trains.[4] The station was approached across Holsworthy Viaduct, a structure consisting of nine 50 ft spans and the first of its kind to be built entirely out of concrete.
By 1898 Bude had developed sufficiently for the LSWR, under pressure from local residents, to extend the line westwards to the coastal port. The new section opened on 11 August 1898 and necessitated the rebuilding of Holsworthy Station; little is known about the first station as no plans or photographs appear to exist of it. The new station was rather unusual in that it was situated between two viaducts—Holsworthy Viaduct to the east and Derriton Viaduct to the west. A new 20-lever signalbox was installed and the turntable and engine shed from the earlier station were kept. The turntable lasted until 1 January 1911 when it was demolished, and the goods shed until the 1920s. The goods yard was unusually large and complicated for a local station such as Holsworthy and incorporated a run-around line to enable short trains to bypass the station without fouling the main line.[4]
The station was served for many years by the Atlantic Coast Express from London Waterloo, but this was withdrawn following the transfer of the line to the Western Region of British Railways in January 1963.[5] The withdrawal was a portent of worse to come as the station and line were proposed for closure by Richard Beeching, Chairman of the British Transport Commission, in his report published in March of that year. For the last few years of its life, the service to Holsworthy was operated entirely by Diesel Multiple Units working as "locals" between Okehampton and Bude.[4]read more

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