Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

Seaton Branch Line, Devon

Seaton & Beer Railway opened on March 1868. Running from Seaton up to Seaton Junction, where it converged with the Exeter-London line, it comprised stations at Seaton, Colyton and Seaton Junction, with an intermediate stop at Colyford. As well as being important for carrying holiday-makers to the seaside, the goods yard in Seaton was also used as a depository for Beer Stone from the quarry, a crane once in situ for the purpose. The large blocks of stone were left there to weather and harden as, being calcareous, it is softer to cut whilst underground and hardens when topside.  There were no special goods trains to transport the stone, but they were taken whenever empty or near-empty trains were able to handle the additional weight.

Now used by Seaton & District Tramways, I took a tram journey for the first part of my exploration of the erstwhile railway line, between Seaton and Colyton.

Old concrete posts, which can be seen in the photo above, once marked the edge of the railway line, running alongside the River Axe from Seaton, and are now partly submerged in the mud and water. 

Above is one of several platelayers hut along the route. Built in Exmouth, along with the concrete bridges at Seaton Junction, they are unique to East Devon branchlines. The dinosaur, by the way, is part of a 'Jurassic Coastline' checklist game for children travelling on the tramline.

There is little left of the intermediate station at Colyford. In old photos there are nothing but concrete buildings similar to platelayers huts. However, there is this wonderful, original urinal (above) which remains. Not in use now, but still kept beautifully maintained.

Colyton Station (below), was the end of my tram journey; the rest taken by foot or bus at various different times. The station house is the original one built in 1868.

Along the station lane are the remains of the bridge uprights, the bridge having long ago been taken away. A parallel lane also has bridge supports remaining (photo below).

The letters and numbers on bridges are for identification purposes, so that maintenance can be carried out. I haven't been able to find out for sure, but I think that the letters on these (below) stand for 'London Exeter' and  'Seaton Exeter Branch'.

The photo below was taken above the last bridge support. This is where the track bed once was, on its way to Seaton Junction. Nothing of it now remains.

Seaton Junction station (below), closed since the branch line closure in 1966. More about Seaton Junction can be seen here.

More photos can be seen in the Photo Gallery album.

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