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Ashburton Station

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by WishIHadAName, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. WishIHadAName

    WishIHadAName New Member

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    Was saddened to read the article in the latest steam Railway Magazine on the fate of Ashburton station. A growing group of people seem to he sharing this view on a facebook facebook group.

    https://touch.facebook.com/groups/1441110242787862?ref=bookmark

    I beleive their is a public meeting with the planners this Thursday.
     
  2. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    If it cannot be saved in situ, perhaps a move to somewhere might be on the cards?
     
  3. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    I traveled there about 1970 on a Merrymaker from Reading...one of the last trains to run before final closure. Very sad if it goes at this late stage. Maybe the SDR can save the building?
     
  4. Kingscross

    Kingscross Member

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    I haven't read the steam railway article, but the station is not proposed for demolition. The masterplan proposes conversion into a market building, which looks more sympathetic than the previous garage use. However, the housing plans would permanently block any hope of trains returning, if the A38 hasn't already. Masterplan here: http://www.dartmoor-npa.gov.uk/plan...s-and-development-briefs/ashburton-masterplan

    It's suprising the station isn't listed, although I beleive English Heritage have received a request to do so. The goods shed is listed, but not the engine shed or train shed. Other than Kingswear and Frome, are there any other surviving Brunel-era overall roofs of a similar scale (ie not Temple Meads) surviving?
     
  5. David Bigcheeseplant

    David Bigcheeseplant New Member

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    There only a few GWR trainsheds that still survive, to your list Chard & Wycombe can be added. There were plans to demolish Wycombe around 15 years ago but I submitted a case file to English Heritage which resulted in grade 2 listing and stopped the demolition just in time. in fact it rather upset the council who had to them incorporate the building in their plans.

    The Broad Gauge Society have created a data base and list of all known GWR trainsheds see this link http://www.broadgauge.org.uk/heritage/train_sheds_list.html
     
  6. goldfish

    goldfish Part of the furniture

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    I would have thought this would be a good thing. Using the buildings in situ for something that adds value to the locals seems like the best possible likely scenario, particularly after the A38 drove a coach and horses through any long-term rebuilding plans. I'm a big fan of the Goods Shed in Canterbury, which is a really nice restaurant and food market selling local produce in, you guessed it, an old goods shed.

    http://thegoodsshed.co.uk/about-the-goods-shed-canterbury/

    I'd imagine a similar development at Ashburton could be a useful promotional site for the SDR, particularly if (as it seems to me) the council is trying to drive up the tourist trade around Ashburton.

    Simon
     
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  7. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    There have been various 'fresh looks' at the railway scenario over the years by interested SDR-related people. IIRC the general view was that there was (not sure if still is) room for a single track to share the valley, the main obstacle being the need - and cost! - to drive a fresh tunnel under the A38. If only the 'mindset' as regards the benefits of heritage railways had been different in the late-1960s, the railway might still be there. So I don't think a re-opening should be written-off completely, but one has to be realistic about the hurdles to be overcome. But I totally agree that it really would be extemely stupid to knowingly block the trackbed nowadays.
     
  8. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Ashburton lies just within the Dartmoor National Park and planning is more strictly controlled than outside it. The SDR terminus at Buckfastleigh just stops at the Park boundary which has probably allowed them to do more which would include the linear "scrap" yard that I saw there some years ago. That may have gone since I last looked in there some years ago. I have never returned as my greeting, by someone with a peaked cap, when I stopped to make an enquiry, was instantly "you can't park there". I knew that of course, but wanted an answer to my question before I decided to stay or not. Hopefully that has also changed. As I have connections with a nearby place I pass fairly close to the SDR quite often.
     
  9. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    I suspect the future of the station depends in part on the SDR's desire to return to Ashburton , and whether a supporters group could acquire it in situ (or have the wherewithal to dismantle and store) and then if neither the first two are appropriate , another railway acquiring it

    Wallingford would make a fine host for it , alternatively if Chinnor were to head in the Watlington direction it would make a great terminus for them

    We only have Kingswear as a GWR trainshed in Preservation so it is absolutely worthy of saving wherever it may end up
     
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  10. Kingscross

    Kingscross Member

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    Thanks for that, I'd read about the Wycombe one in the mags but forgotten about it. I think the Chard example is later, though - there's a Brunellian station building but the trainshed, adapted for use as a garage and now disused (as far as I know) was a later replacement for the original wooden one.
     
  11. Kingscross

    Kingscross Member

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    A question - is it better for the building to remain where it is but be (sensitively) adapted to new use, or is it better to dismantle and re-erect on a steam railway somewhere else? I reckon I'd be ok with it moving to Buckfastleigh (is that possible?) but a one-way trip to Chinnor would be a loss to South Devon!

    Hasn't the Wallingford line recently acquired a trainshed from Maidenhead? I'd be interested to see their plans for that if anyone has a link.
     
  12. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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    The biggest thing against it been moved as will it just sit in a pile and when they get around to rebuilding all the main timber work has rotted out.

    The plans are to be for it to be restored and to have all the extras like the new roof over the existing removed and the extension on the outside removed and turned into something which the town can make use of for all people. Yes try to keep the track bed clear in case there is any chance to get the SDR line back into the station.
     
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  13. Journalist

    Journalist New Member

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    What's the route like beyond Buckfastleigh in terms of scenery etc? Are there any big potential draws that would make the cost of the tunnel under the expressway worth it?

    Some lines have an incentive - whether it's a spectacular view, or a main line connection - to complete an extension whatever feats of engineering or costs are involved, whereas I've always had the sense that the South Devon is in pretty good shape with what it's got (reasonable length, decent views, main line link, some non-railway attractions nearby, half-distance passing loop and generally well set-up main terminus).

    That said, I've lived in Totnes for eight years and never visited Ashburton itself, which is definitely not true of Buckfastleigh or even Staverton village, so maybe the incentive for keeping the future extension option open is more for the town than the railway.

    Incidentally, regarding Greenway's point, I have found that South Devon volunteers are either among the most helpful and welcoming you'll come across, or the most likely to bark something officious at you (or be a bit quizzical if you don't match their expectation of what an enthusiastic is going to look like, had that a few times), and not a lot in the middle - but the vast majority fit in the first category so it's worth another chance. And 'scrapyard'-wise, I think the more ragged condition stock is now much better hidden away than it is at many lines. Plus the inventiveness of their gala planners is outstanding at the moment, achieving an amazing amount with just one visitor (or none) and a single passing loop.

    On the original theme, I'm quite a fan of sensitive conversions of railway buildings. Yeah, ideally I'd love to see 1369, 3205 or D7612 poking out from beneath the trainshed at Ashburton one day, but as there's a massive expressway impeding that, coming across a sensitively used bit of railway heritage in a different purpose in an ex-railway town is fine with me. Demolition, of course, would be massively sad as it's survived this long and is so close to a preservation hub.
     
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  14. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    I tend to be sceptical about buildings being taken down and re-erected somewhere else. Ever since the old goods shed at Lostwithiel was dismantled in the early 80s, and taken in bits to a proposed scheme (long since abandoned) elsewhere in Cornwall. The gentleman (for want of a better word) behind that project burned it down in protest at not being given financial backing by English Tourist Board or similar. Or there's Billacombe which was to be re-erected on the Plym Valley line - that was 30 years ago; not being critical of the good people at Plym Valley, but I suspect that funds for this sort of thing are not unlimited.

    The idea of using it for local community purposes seems the best realistically available option, although we'd all like to see 1420 and an auto coach at a re-opened Ashburton.

    John
     
  15. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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    Not a lot to see with the A38 on one side and some fields on the other. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Ashburton, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ13/@50.4900952,-3.7393853,9533m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x486d020d78dcfa4b:0xfd033bb9edda980c

    It wont just be the cost of going under the A38 as it will be the cost of the bridges under the Buckfastleigh slip roads and the same for the Ashburton slip road as well. The River Dart will have to be bridged as well so as far I am concerned the cost will never be worth it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2014
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  16. Journalist

    Journalist New Member

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    Interesting, thanks GWR Man. As a very regular A38 user I wasn't sure of precisely where the trackbed fitted in, but I suspected the best bit of the route was what already survived.
     
  17. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Not now, but in the late 1960s it was nice to meander along the old A38, look down into the valley and - if lucky - see the occasional DVR engine steaming to/from Ashburton - ah, happy days <sigh>
     
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  18. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    I was on the last train up to Ashburton. A most memorable day.

    Notwithstanding the astronomical cost to get track to Ashburton from Buckfastleigh I think it can be reliably believed that the townsfolk would not welcome removal of the train shed. After all it been part of the town for a long while.
     
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  19. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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    http://www.railmaponline.com/UKIEMap.php

    Where it says places click on and then find Ashburton and you will be able to see the course of the line follows the A38.
     
  20. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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