Located five route-miles east of Exeter Central, and just ⅓-mile from the site of the long-closed platforms of Broad Clyst, this station was commissioned to serve one of a series of nationwide “eco-towns”, the origins of which date back to a government plan unveiled in 2007. Without getting into the politics of the concept, an “eco-town” is typically described as a development in which construction has less of an impact on the environment than traditional building methods. Additionally, such towns are also designed to make the most of solar and wind technologies to meet their continued energy needs.

In March 2010, proposals were announced for a development at Cranbrook, Devon, near Exeter Airport, initially comprising an estimated 3,000 homes. Planning permission was granted in October of the same year, which included the provision of a station on the adjacent single-track railway line between Salisbury and Exeter. Plans for the station were formally submitted in March 2012 with an estimated price tag of £4,000,000, involving the provision of one platform. The proposals also included scope for the laying of a second track and platform in the future, if required, and timely approval of the plans would reportedly have seen construction start in spring 2013.

Construction of the then new East Devon town of Cranbrook began in June 2011, and the first houses were occupied from August of the following year. The railway station was planned to be brought into service during winter 2013; however, as a result of a late start to building, it was a further two years until the first trains called. Summer 2015 was subsequently earmarked as the opening for the station at Cranbrook; however, construction was hampered by the presence of a large sewer running under the site, in addition to signalling complications arising from the close proximity of an existing level crossing.

Eventually, Cranbrook station’s opening coincided with the start of the National Winter Timetable: the first service to arrive was the 07:06 Salisbury to Exeter St David’s on Sunday, 13th December 2015. The station had been built at a cost of £5,000,000, which included a single platform of about 155-metre (508-feet) length and a car park capable of accommodating 132 vehicles. The station is unstaffed, and waiting passengers are protected from the elements by a shelter-like curved roof extending for about 40-metres (130-feet).

1st October 2022

Naturally, being a new station, the platform has been built with a slope for step-free access. The station forecourt comprises a bus stop, taxi rank and, since February 2022, docking points for rental bikes. The notice board at the station wears the branding “East Devon Line”. Whilst the station is unstaffed, tickets can be obtained from the machine at the top of the stairs, to the right. Left for Exeter; right for Honiton. © David Glasspool

1st October 2022

An Exeter-bound view shows that the station has been provided with a wide, spacious concourse. A 40-metre-long curved roof has been installed upon that part of the platform which extends beyond the concourse. © David Glasspool

1st October 2022

A view from the platform, towards the car park, shows to good effect the large tiled forecourt. The car park is free of charge and can accommodate 132 vehicles. © David Glasspool

1st October 2022

A closer view of the entrance shows that the curved roof is mostly exposed to the elements at its rear. However, a section of the roof about 6.5-metres in length, nearest the concourse, has been equipped with wrap-a-round sides. © David Glasspool