Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

Axminster Railway Station, Axminster, Devon

As the date stone shows, the station was built in 1859, and was subsequently opened on the 19th of July 1860. The original service offered travel between Queen Street in Exeter to Yeovil in Somerset, with the London and South Western railway (LSWR). Eventually services were extended to include express trains to Waterloo station in London, and also local services to Exeter and Salisbury.

   

Typical of the period in this area, it's a beautifully quaint building which has continued pretty much unspoilt. Designed by Sir William Tite in the Victorian Gothic style, it isn't derelict or abandoned, but very much live and used. In fact there have been improvements to the line since these photos were taken during late 2008. The Beeching cuts during the 1960s had earmarked the line for closure, but it was reprieved to having just the one line cut; bringing the two lines down to one. However, recent work has reversed that by opening up the other line to extend the London service to an hourly one, and a new passenger footbridge was built in february 2010, to enable travellers access to the other side.

As can be seen in the photo above, one track was in use and the erstwhile one had been taken up. The direction shown is the up line for London; the down direction (same line until recently in 2010) to Exeter. The building on the right now houses a delightful little cafe, which was originally a parcel office and staff room.

A close-up of the bridge, in the photo above. Below, a very rare moment with no people, cars, taxis or buses in front of the station. Mind you, I did have to stand there for quite a while to get that photo.

Wonderfully mellow red brick with stone quoins, there was a time in circa 1990 to the early 2000s when the brick was painted over in a very pale magnolia type of colour and the quoins and roof slates were in light grey. I don't recall seeing it like that as I had no occasion to be in Axminster at that time, but having seen a photo of it I can only say that thank goodness it was put back to it's original unfaced brick and stone.

 

More photos can be seen in the Photo Gallery album along with these.

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