John Speller's Web Pages
Exeter & Crediton Railway (B&ER - L&SWR) LSWR Horizontal Menu Untitled
"Vicar of Bray" line because it kept switching between the broad and narrow gauge camps. It was incorporated by an Act of 1 July 1845 to build a broad gauge line 5¾ miles in length from Cowley Bridge Junction on the Bristol & Exeter Railway to Crediton, where it would later connect with the broad gauge North Devon Railway to Barnstaple. There were stations at Newton St Cyres and Crediton. The line would be worked by the Bristol & Exeter Railway. The line was finished in 1847 but then all hell broke loose as the competing broad and narrow gauge parties wrangled and it did not open. In 1848 it was converted to narrow gauge and back to broad gauge again in 1850. On 12 May it finally opened on the broad gauge, worked by the Bristol & Exeter. In 1854 the North Devon Railway opened to Crediton. By an Act of 3 July 1860 L&SWR was given running rights over the Exeter & Crediton and over the B&ER to their Exeter Queen Street (Central) Station from the North Devon Railway. By another Act of 1 January 1862 the Exeter & Crediton was leased to the London and South Western Railway and converted to mixed gauge, though the Bristol & Exeter continued to have powers to operate goods trains over the line. Finally, by an Act of 30 June 1874 the line was widened to two tracks and converted to narrow gauge. It later formed part of the London & South Western Railway’s main line to the West of England. The Exeter & Crediton Railway was amalgamated into the Southern Railway in the Grouping of 1923.
Map of the Exeter & Crediton Railway
The venerable railway station at Crediton. Image © Owen Dunn, released to the Public Domain
Flooding at Cowley Bridge Junction, 1866. Illustration from the Illustrated London News
Crediton station in mixed gauge days, circa 1870
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