Sunday 29th January 2023
St Germans Station
Many Thanks to Dave and Lizzy Stroud & family together with the volunteers who made me most welcome
It was good to see you again at St Germans today. I hope that your trundle to Gunnislake worked out OK afterwards.
I expect that you've got plenty of photos of the carriages at St Germans - I'm quite pleased with my shots. There is one that you probably didn't manage to take; this was the grounded carriage body in the 10 acre Colgear Woods. It seems to be in use as a crib hut for the people who work in the woodland, but my picture of the back of the carriage looks nice and 'undiscovered'. I don't know any of its history, but I guess it wasn't needed for holiday accommodation, so ended up in the woods.
Many Thanks Roger
P.S. After getting to Plymouth it was blowing hard so I returned home by 17.00 hrs.
Gateway to Riverside Park
You could have relied on the Teign Valley scout to send you shots of the first trains to stop at Exeter's new station!!!!
Clapperbrook Lane now has two parts: the ancient lane from Alphington Village and this bit (Clapperbrook Lane East). It was severed by the expanding trading estate and by the Alphin Brook flood channel.
When I was a boy, hardly a soul was ever seen on this lane but up until it was closed a succession of cars, many with dogs in the back, were driven over the railway and the canal to a small car park. Temporary access to the Double Locks pub has been provided along the towpath but traffic will resume over the railway once the lane is reopened.
The provision of a dual-use footbridge here enabled the planning inspector to permit the closing of Alphington Crossing. The diversion is lengthy but it was considered suitable. As you may expect, the subject has been covered on my "scouting" pages, as no one else ever bothers with the minor-interest stories. https://www.teignrail.co.uk/scouting/78-alphington-crossing/
Every business case for a new station these days will include reference to enabling development in the area. Marsh Barton was no exception and the reference will be found in the planning documents for Okehampton Parkway, Cullompton, Wellington, Edginswell, Carn Brea, etc. Marsh Barton's blurb included: “The station will support the delivery of 2,500 homes at South West Exeter and an additional 2,000 jobs at Marsh Barton.” That not a single passenger will come from any of those homes is unimportant. https://www.teignrail.co.uk/scouting/60-matford/
When the railway was a powerful, bullish organization, this halt would have been conceived, paid for and delivered, swiftly, without any outside involvement. Now the initiative has to come from others and the railway "organization" acts as a dragging anchor.
"Assuming that the siting of the trading estate had not for some reason been determined by the proximity of rail transport, and that railway facilities in the form of a new freight yard and possibly private sidings for the larger manufacturers and traders were not planned in the first instance, then railway managers would have soon become aware of the potential for traffic. In fact all employees at the time were encouraged to be on the alert for changes which might give rise to new revenue opportunities.
"Even as the estate was growing, commercial managers would have been eyeing the patterns of travel of the workforce and maybe the customers. A petition may have come forth from a traders' chamber or from the city council. In due course, if it were felt that a halt on the main line could be justified, then a proposal would have been put together and presented to the Great Western board of directors, who would have considered it along with a pile of other proposed investments and renewals. The case would have been accompanied by what today would be seen as the flimsiest forecasting of demand and by an estimate from the engineer based on something similar he had recently done.
"Rubber-stamped by the board within the month, along with approvals for new works of all kinds across the system, the engineer would probably have had a two-platform wooden halt with the most basic furniture and access finished in less than eight weeks. It may have been sited so as to take advantage of the footpath underpass, or at Clapperbrook Lane Bridge, with the continuing expansion of the estate in mind. Depending on its usage, the halt may have been improved and its train service adjusted over time.
"How did it come to pass that this kind of responsive action, which would have been seen certainly up to 1947 and quite likely into the early years of nationalization, has been reversed so that you, as an officer of the county council, have become the driving force and the railway—if any loose organization can be identified which approximates to the title—is for the most part obstructive, or clearly non-expansionist by nature?"
Footnote Re My photos at Marsh Barton : You'll guess that the trains were not actually at a stand. I was only there a moment and each was caught with one press of the shutter.