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British Railway sign Bideford Railway Museum photo Pat Adams
Bideford Station sign photo copyright Pat Adams The railway from Barnstaple to Bideford was opened in 1855 but was sadly closed to regular passengers in October 1965 as part of the notorious Beeching Report. The line from Barnstaple-Torrington-Meeth remained open for freight traffic until 1982. The railway track was lifted in 1985 and the whole of line was purchased by Devon County Council and converted into the now popular Tarka Trail Footpath & Cycleway. The Bideford & Instow Railway Group was set up in 1988 and has worked hard since that date to restore the Bideford Station site. The Bideford Railway Heritage Centre is situated at the old station in East the Water across the old Long Bridge. Go straight on under the railway bridge and the station is the first turning to the right just past the Royal Hotel. The Signal Box has been rebuilt and a short stretch of track relaid track on this part of the Tarka Line. The group's aim to return passenger train rides along the relaid section of track at Bideford came to fruition in 2004 when, after over three years of constant effort, they received the agreement of Her Majesty's Inspector of Railways to start passenger operations. With great fanfare the first passenger service from Bideford Station commenced on 15 August 2004 with return brake van rides to Nutaberry Hill Bridge. The service was time-tabled from 10.15am to 5.00pm and carried 551 passengers in total on the day. The "New Atlantic Coast Express" was unveiled by the Mayor of Bideford, Councillor Peter Christie, accompanied by the Lady Mayor. The average journey time over the 0.8km length of track was seven minutes with 47 timetabled journeys rostered by five locomotive drivers and three guards. Special souvenir Edmondson tickets, date-stamped 15 August 2004, were issued to all passengers. The Group has also restored Instow Signal Box, which dates from 1872 and was the first Signal Box in the UK to be "listed" as a building of architectural interest. It is now the only all-equipped Box of its type in the whole of the Southwest. The signal box is owned by Devon County Council, but the Railway Group have managed it since 1988. In 2006 the Group became the Bideford Railway Heritage Centre Community Interest Company. The Bideford station site is accessible to all from the Tarka Trail, but is currently closed for extended maintenance. Instow Signal Box is open to the public on occasional Sundays and Bank Holidays throughout the year. Please contact Bideford Railway Heritage Centre Community Interest Company for further information and updates.
We would like to thank the Bideford Railway Heritage Centre CIC for their help with the editorial on this page.
Historical Information: Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway - Buy the book North Devon's Lost Railways by Peter Dale - North Devon Focus Blogspot Click here for early photos contributed by Philip Lindhurst
Focus on Instow - Focus on the Tarka Trail Bideford to Instow - Focus on the Tarka Trail Intow to Fremington Quay
Welcome to Bideford Station
Tarka Trail Bideford Station photo copyright Pat Adams
Bideford Railway Museum photo copyright Pat Adams
Looking down on Torrington Street
The Train now standing ............
Rooftop view Bideford photo copyright Pat Adams
The "Buffet Car"! - The Railway Carriage Visitors Centre & Cafe
Just passing through!
Bideford Station Cafe photo copyright Pat Adams
The Tarka Trail Footpath & Cycleway
The Signal Box Bideford Station photo copyright Pat Adams
Railway Sidings Bideford photo copyright Pat Adams
Bideford Station photo copyright Pat Adams
Pulling in to Bideford Station! - The Tarka Line
The Royal Hotel and Brunswick Wharf photo copyright Pat Adams
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