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Lynton and Barnstaple - Operations and Development

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by Old Kent Biker, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. Axe +1

    Axe +1 Member

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    On the other hand, it will be advantageous to have two nearby water sources on a steam railway, particularly near the top of a steep gradient. Otherwise, what could happen if a single tank at Woody Bay were to spring a leak on a busy day?


    Pre-1935, the population of Parracombe village was only about 400 and few people ever used the railway. There was therefore no need for a manned station with a ticket office. However, I understand that Tom Trickey, a porter at Blackmoor (BR) would occasionally walk to Parracombe Halt (PH) to sell tickets and afterwards return by train. Tickets were also I understand available elsewhere other than from Parracombe Post Office. No doubt Michael B will be able to clarify that.


    Chris, the latest L&B procurement is to recreate "Parracombe Halt". The name is formed of two separate character strings so will more likely be referred to as PH. Also, note the correct spelling for WD is "Wistlandpound".
    :Updated:
     
  2. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Maybe, but AFAIK - like many other things for the future - there has been no official decision yet on nomenclature. In any case, any possible signal-box/block-post there (again, yet to be decided) has been assumed by the S&T design group so far to be named purely Parracombe (it was not uncommon for boxes to be named differently from the station at which they were sited) hence the PE code.
     
  3. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Query: Has the propensity for water failures which plagued the old Lynton Station (usually in decent summers, right when passenger numbers were highest) been solved since the old line closed?
     
  4. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Once Phase 2A is operational, services in general will start from (and finish at) Blackmoor, so the new depot there will need to have a good water supply. Whether they will need to water while laying-over at Woody Bay is a moot point, likewise any need (or not) to top-up their coal. Another of those many TBD things (To Be Decided) !
     
  5. Michael B

    Michael B New Member

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    Thank you for the reference. I should have mentioned that Henry Blackmore was an occupier of one of Charles’s fields, hence his entitlement to sign the petitions. Both Blackmores declared a dissent as a result of the notice required to be sent by the Company under Board of Trade rules. The petition in the Commons was withdrawn, probably by Viscount Ebrington.

    John Chanter, the Rector of Parracombe, pressed for a station on behalf of his Parishioners at the September 1898 half-yearly shareholders meeting. He had bought five £10 shares entitling him to attend. His older brother Charles was the Company’s Solicitor and most of his response (as quoted in the local paper) is worth quoting in full:

    Chanter said five stations had been proposed (in the Prospectus issued for Shares), and ‘the company, like any other, claimed the right of modification of their plans. Their first duty was to the shareholders to make a line a commercial success. They were obliged to have a station at Blackmoor because of a proposed extension from that point to Combe Martin, which he hoped to see carried in the very near future. At Wooda Bay Colonel Lake presented them with a large and valuable site, and further attended to give evidence in favour of the bill free of cost, and the bill, as passed through the House of Commons, rendered a station at Wooda Bay imperative. If a station were erected at Parracombe, midway between the two above stations, they would have three stations in a little over three miles. Additional expensive plant and staff for working the tablet system would have been necessary, and trains would be further delayed. Further, there was a rise of 1 foot in 50 from the other side of Parracombe to Wooda Bay, which would cause considerable waste of steam and fuel to restart on such an incline. They now had choice of two stations within 1 or 1½ miles, and many living in town (he himself for instance) were over a mile from the railway station.’Replying to further questions, Mr Chanter said trains had undoubtedly stopped recently on the Parracombe incline to take water, but this was caused by the drought and consequent scarcity of water at Lynton and other stations and was temporary only.’ Colonel Yorke (the BoT Inspector) had sanctioned a platform, and certain trains would stop on market days to take up or set down passengers. As we know, eventually a water tank was installed to replace the wooden trough, as it proved very useful.

    Tickets were indeed obtainable at the Post Office, but also ‘issued by the guard of the train or collected at the next station.’ When challenged about the alleged loss of income by a shareholder Mr Drewett said the guard always saw to it passengers had a ticket before they left. A recollection of the late twenties was of the mother getting off at Blackmoor to buy the tickets.

    Mr Catchpole’s comment that the opposition of Messrs Blackmore, Arthur Smyth and others was responsible for the reluctance to honour the promise to build a station is supported by what John Chanter’s said as Chairman at a Parracombe Parish Council meeting on 8 November 1897 (as recorded in the Minute Book). Chanter said the Company agreed to put in a station provided there was no opposition to the Bill, so the promise was not binding. Since then, he said, the Company declared it would not pay. As a result of his representations, he said, the Company had agreed to a (never used) goods siding. (see the L & B plan in ‘Measured and Drawn’ page page 203) The 7th edition of Mr Catchpole’s book in 1988 was edited by Colin Judge, and enlarged mainly by adding sentences and sections from other sources, mainly the 1964 David & Charles history and doesn’t add anything on this subject.

    The Wikipedia page seems a case of too many cooks. The stopping place was called Parracombe Platform (at Churchtown) or Parracombe Siding (not to be confused with the short-lived and never-used goods siding just mentioned at a different location) Only the 5 stations outside Barnstaple were auctioned in 1938. (along with Pilton Yard) The site of the halt was sold to Mr J Gammon in February 1939. At the 1901 Census there were 315 residents in Parracombe.

    So, which story to believe. It seems more likely that the desire to keep a tight reign on spending while the railway settled down than take notice of a few objectors.

    The limited evidence might suggest that the Platform/Siding/Halt resulted from Chanter’s pressure for one, which had been agreed to within three months of the opening, maybe helped by the fact that another Chanter brother was the Manager (and Engineer). The new stopping place would put the hoped-for one-hour journey time even further beyond reach, but it might have resulted from a realisation that the railway needed every available passenger fare to survive, but with the Arbitration with the Contractor coming up as little money as possible had to be spent on it.
     
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  6. Thomas Woods

    Thomas Woods New Member

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    I would imagine crews would at least take water at Woody bay, as it's on the run round. Unless there's a column on the platform at Blackmoor Gate you'd have to run on shed to top up the water which isn't very convenient.
     
  7. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    That would assume that the arrangements at Woody Bay will remain unchanged in Phase 2A, which may not be the case. Likewise it is quite possible that the provision of water columns on the platforms at Blackmoor will be considered as part of the station design. As I said above, all examples of things yet TBD :)
     
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  8. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    Was the spelling "Wooda Bay" that appears twice in the local paper quotation a mistake? If that was correct at the time, when and why did it change?
     
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  9. Llwyngwern

    Llwyngwern Member

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    Yes it did change and was the usage at the time when it was hoped that there would be a new Bristol Channel holiday development at Woody/Wooda Bay itself served by a branch from what has remained Woody Bay station ever since. Presumably had all of these plans come to pass Woody Bay station as was/is would have become Martinhoe Cross. I must dig out my copy of Harriet Bridle's book about the history of Woody Bay to see if there is anything in there about the name and the changes.
     
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  10. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Old photos show watering facilities prominent on platform ends at Blackmoor (tank located at the Lynton end) and a very visible tank smack bang in the middle of the best photography vantage point above Parracombe (if a larger station is envisaged here, something for the new sation's designers to contemplate).

    Blackmoor is 80ft lower than Woody Bay, though with the drop to the lowest point between the two approached on gradients up to 1:50, so lack of exercise won't be a problem for L&B firemen in either direction.
     
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  11. Breva

    Breva Part of the furniture

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    Wouldn't that have been rather steep? Woody Bay is closer than Lynton, and even there the railway didn't get down to the shoreline.
     
  12. goughball01

    goughball01 New Member

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    The plan was for a branch and then cliff railway down to the bay itself. The story of Colonel lake and his proposed development of the Matinhoe Manor Estate is a fascinating one in itself:

    https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/heddon-valley/features/woody-bays-victorian-heritage
     
  13. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    There's an impressive cliff lift for that. Still operated by water (I believe the last which still does), things are going to get a lot busier for Sir George Newnes's earlier enterprise when trains return to Lynton .... and it hasn't exactly been short of custom every time I've used it.
     
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  14. DcB

    DcB Member

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    Thanks would make a good film (although Sanditon, soon to be back in production in Somerset covers a similar story).
    Interesting the old manor house is now holiday apartments and up for sale.
    https://www.knightfrank.co.uk/prope...ay-parracombe-barnstaple-devon-ex31/EXE120161
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2021
  15. Michael B

    Michael B New Member

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    Harriet Bridle in her book 'Woody Bay' has recorded (pp42-4 and 51) several names on documents from the 1700s to 1838 such as Whiddby Weddebay and Withy Bay, but the Ordnance Survey map of 1809 has Woodabay. This name appears in Directories, Newspapers and Guides along with Woodybay, (sometimes with gaps) over the next 50 odd years from at least the 1841 Census. When Lake wanted his Railway Station at Martinhoe Cross he had a drawn out negotiation about a clause in the 1895 Act saying there had to be a station there to be called Woody Bay Station . . . . . ' This was in return for withdrawing his opposition in the House of Commons which the Company was more than keen to avoid, and giving evidence on the L & B's side to the House of Lords Committee. The Company asked for the site of the station to be given free which was granted, although his land southwards towards Killington Lane was paid for. In the event the Railway adopted the name of Wooda Bay that he was calling his development on the coast. Maybe Lake chose Wooda Bay as sounding more appealing and slightly mysterious to potential investors. As Harriet Bridle points out, there were a number of paragraphs and letters in the North Devon Press around 1895-7 speculating on whether the Bay ought to be called 'Wooda' or 'Woody' (EG The North Devon Herald 19 July 1897) After Lake's fall from grace the railway changed the name in 1901 (by the simple expedient of painting over the A on the enamel sign and replacing it with a Y) and in 1902 the Post Office agreed to change it in response to a Parish Council resolution of the residents.
     
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  16. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    I suggest watching The Titfield Thunderbolt or reading the relevant bit in 'Railway Adventure' which the film scene was based on for a possible solution
     
  17. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    ....but all the relevant single-line tablets remained unchanged as Wooda Bay :)

    ETT7A WoodaBay-Lynton_18.jpg
     
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  18. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Chris D - I have sent you a PM :)
     
  19. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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  20. Axe +1

    Axe +1 Member

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    Last edited: Jun 23, 2021

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