THE SIDMOUTH & BUDLEIGH SALTERTON RAILWAYS
A POTTED HISTORY OF THE SIDMOUTH RAILWAY
Although originally conceived in 1861, just a year after the LSWR opened a main line from Yeovil to Exeter in 1860 the promoting company foundered before any building took place. The originally 'Light Railway' finally opened in 1874, despite being completed in 1871. The delay was due to arguments about pricing between the LWSR who had agreed operate the railway, passing 50% of receipts if over £4,000 to the Sidmouth Railway Company, with an option for the LSWR to purchase the railway. In 1894 the L&SWR tried to take up this option offering £70,050 but this was refused by the Company. However in 1922, just before the Grouping of the railways in Great Britain, a share swap was arranged, effectively ending the independent existence of the Sidmouth Railway company.
The branch was always single track with passing loop in every station and was initially worked by staff and ticket. In 1904 the Tyers electric train tablet system was introduced. The junction station on the main line at Feniton which had originally been called Ottery Road, but the name was changed to Sidmouth Junction on the day of the opening of the branch line.
Goods services mainly brought inward agricultural supplies, building materials and coal for domestic purposes and for the gasworks at Sidmouth. Special operating conditions had to be imposed for the operation of goods trains over the line due to the very steep gradients on the line.
Locomotive power initially was restricted to those suitable for use on light railways, Although when the West Country light pacific 21C110 was to receive its name special permission was granted for it to visit Sidmouth for the naming ceremony on 27 June 1946, but normal LSWR traffic was normally banned until after 1951.
OTTERY ROAD/SIDMOUTH JUNCTION/FENITON
This is the point at which the branch lines left the main Waterloo to Exeter line. Formerly the LSWR Plymouth line via Exeter & Okehampton.
Sidmouth trains used a bay platform on the down, Exeter bound side of the station, and they left in an eastwards direction. After short way the line curved round to the south falling at 1 in 110 and then 1 in 53, followed by flattish track to Ottery St Mary where The station was designed by William Tite and was opened by the LSWR on 19 July 1860, along with its Exeter Extension from Yeovil Junction to Exeter Queen Street. It was named "Feniton" after the nearest village, but less than a year later it was renamed (on 1 July 1861) as "Ottery and Sidmouth Road". In February 1868 this was changed again to "Feniton for Ottery St Mary". On 6 July 1874 a branch line to Sidmouth was opened and the station changed its name once more to become "Sidmouth Junction", a name that it managed to retain for more than 90 years.
On 1 May 1897 a new line to Budleigh Salterton was opened and this was extended on 1 June 1903 to Exmouth. Although the junction for this line was at Tipton St John, Sidmouth Junction was the de facto junction as it was situated on the London main line. A third platform was provided to accommodate branch line trains; this was a terminal bay at the Yeovil end of the westbound platform. It was on this platform that the main two-storey building was situated.
A goods yard and goods shed was provided adjacent to the bay platform. This was closed on 6 September 1965. The following year saw the withdrawal of local stopping trains on the main line, but Sidmouth Junction remained open until 6 March 1967 when passenger services were withdrawn from the branch lines.
Local campaigning eventually got the station reopened on 5 May 1971 assuming the original "Feniton" name. A ticket office was erected in 1974 as the original station had been entirely demolished.
OTTERY ST MARY
TIPTON ST JOHN
TIPTON ST JOHNS JUNCTION
TIPTON ST JOHNS JUNCTION
BUDLEIGH SALTERTON RAILWAY
THE RAILWAY REINSTATEMENT ASSOCIATION