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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

A Station with No Trains

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas NOVEMBER. 09, 2020

[96-365] 9th. November 2020- This is proving to be one of those weeks. This is my first attempt to post on my phone.

1st we're in lockdown. 2nd the road is closed to civilisation for a week. 3rd my PC died last night. Try getting a PC fixed in those circumstances.

Enough of my problems. Apart from the fact I have now given up with the phone (already). For some reason it is impossible to enter text easily, so I am now on a borrowed PC.

This is Dartmouth railway station. It has no railway and has never seen a train. When the railway was first built from Paignton to Dartmouth it got as far as the river Dart to The Greenway Estate.

Greenway is interesting because it is the former home of Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express etc...... It is now owned by the National Trust, who have gone woke, so assuming Agatha Christies ancient forebears did not know a slave owner it will still be open to the public eventually when things return to normal.

This relaxed and atmospheric house is set in the 1950s, when Agatha and her family would spend summers and Christmases here with friends, relaxing by the river, playing croquet and clock golf, and reading her latest mystery to their guests. The family were great collectors, and the house is filled with an important and varied collection of ceramics, Tunbridgeware, silver, and books, including first editions of her novels. It is also home to archaeological artefacts acquired in the Middle East where Agatha accompanied her husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan on excavations. In the library a frieze was painted in 1944 when the house was requisitioned by the US Coastguards as part of the preparations for D-Day. (The National Trust)

Back to the missing railway.

The Dartmouth and Torbay Railway was frustrated in its efforts to build a line across the River Dart and so was forced to terminate its line on the east side of the river in Kingswear.

A site on the quay in Dartmouth was obtained and an 8 feet (2.4 m) wide jetty provided to accommodate a ferry from Kingswear. An 83 feet (25 m) long pier was built out from the quay, and a 60 feet (18 metres) jetty linked this with a pontoon to which the ferry could moor. The jetty was hinged to the pier and so could rise and fall with the jetty as the tide went in and out. The pontoon was 58 feet (18 m) long and up to 18 feet (5.5 m) wide, and a hut was situated on it as a ticket office. The station opened with the railway on 16 August 1864. The railway was leased to the South Devon Railway Company from 1 January 1866 and this in turn amalgamated with the Great Western Railway on 1 February 1876.

The town of Dartmouth instigated improvements to the waterfront in 1884, which saw a new embankment built north and south of the railway jetty, but the railway and town failed to agree on who was to pay to complete the new embankment at the site of the jetty and so a gap was left for five years. Eventually an agreement was reached and a new jetty provided. A new station building was provided on the shore, on the north side of the jetty. This wooden structure, had full booking office and waiting facilities. The station master at Dartmouth was paid more than his colleague at Kingswear due to the important traffic to HMS Britannia (as it was known then), the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. (Wikipedia)

So that is how Dartmouth ended up with a railway station and no railway.

As for my PC there is no immediate solution because of lockdown so I will keep you posted. Until then snaps on my phone will have to do and some may have no text accompanying them. Good luck everyone, and stay safe in the craziness.

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