John Speller's Web Pages Barnstaple Branch (B&ER)

John Speller's Web Pages - GWR Broad Gauge - B&ER

Barnstaple Branch

Devon & Somerset Railway

The broad gauge Devon & Somerset Railway, worked by the Bristol & Exeter Railway and linking the towns of Taunton and Barnstaple, opened as far as Wiveliscombe in 1871 and throughout to Barnstaple in 1873. It connected with the North Devon and Ilfracombe Railways at Barnstaple and was the last "through" broad gauge line to be built. It was converted to narrow gauge in 1881. Dulverton was the junction for the narrow gauge Exe Valley branch from Exeter. The section from Milverton to Norton Fitzwarren was double-tracked in the early 1930s, but the branch remained a single line beyond Milverton.
Early view of South Molton c. 1875. A long train (?an excursion) with 3 cabooses, behind an 0-6-0 freight engine -- perhaps because it was too heavy for a 4-4-0ST. The first 3 coaches are painted in the B&E "cinnamon-and-coffeebean" livery
A goods train at South Molton behind a B&ER saddle tank, c. 1875
Milverton station with its original small signalbox and before the addition of the up loop and platform in 1880
Wiveliscombe station, showing the original signalbox supplied by Easterbrook & Co. of Bridgwater, and the large water tower, a legacy of when Wiveliscombe was the terminus of the D&SR in 1871-73
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