Tiverton Junction

Tiverton Junction station was situated between mileposts 179 and 179¼ from Paddington via Bristol. After the commissioning of the two branch lines, four platform faces were in use; on the "down" side of the layout was an island which served the main line and Culm Valley branch on its western and eastern sides respectively; on the "up" side was a through platform face for the main line and a southward-facing bay for the Tiverton branch. The "down" island and "up" main platforms were protected by triangular-shaped canopies, essentially smaller versions of those which came into use much later at the rebuilt Newton Abbot station of 1927. The Tiverton bay platform could almost be considered a self-contained station; it and the adjacent single-track were covered by a trainshed, the latter a straightforward pitched-roof design not unlike that still in existence today at Frome. The platforms were linked by a roofed footbridge which connected them to the station approach road on the "down" side of the line. Goods sidings were situated south of the platforms, on the "down" side of the running lines, in addition to a single-track goods shed being present. Finally, a single-track Broad Gauge engine shed, reached by locomotives crossing a turntable, was located in the fork of the junction with the Tiverton branch; your author suspects that Culm Valley locomotives used the shed at Hemyock, rather than Broad and narrow gauge engines sharing that at the Junction station. The station is further described in a post-Broad Gauge era accident report from 1898:

Tiverton Junction Station has up and down main lines passing through it, the direction of which is approximately from N.E. to S.W., and there are up and down platforms corresponding to these lines. On the north side of the station there is a single line bay platform for the branch line to Tiverton town; and on the south side there is a loop line and platform for the branch line to Hemyock. There are two cross-over roads between the up and down lines, and there are several sidings connecting the main lines at the western end of the station with trailing points. The only siding to which any reference is made in the evidence concerning this mishap [The 7 a.m. passenger train from Bristol ran into the rear of the 5.30 a.m. passenger train from London] is that known as the Coal yard siding, which has points on the down line about 300 yds. west of the station. These points are worked by No. 43 lever in the signal-box.

The signal box is situated on the up side, 60 yds. west of the station, and the signalling and interlocking are of modern type and quite satisfactory. The down main home-signal is situated on the left-hand side of the line 275 yds. east of the signal-box, or 65 yds. from the eastern end of the down platform, and the following distances should be noted:

From down home-signal to down distant: 1,097 yards.

From down home-signal to point of collision: 108 yards.

From down home-signal to down water crane: 103

From down home-signal to down main starting-signal: 255 yards.

The block stations on either side of Tiverton Junction were, towards the east, Whiteball Tunnel box 5 m. 3 ch. away, and towards the west, Cullompton box 2 m. 27 ch. distant. There is a signal-box at Burlescombe between Whiteball and Tiverton Junction, but this was switched out on the morning of the accident, because it was found that the semaphore signals could not be worked on account of the snow. [Board of Trade, Railway Department, 13th April 1898]

The station described above was swept away about 35-years later. In 1930, the GWR announced a series of major upgrades, network-wide, which included station rebuilds, engine shed renewals, and widening main lines. The company took advantage of a series of cheap loans offered by the government, which aimed to tackle unemployment:

G.W.R Improvements: Work West of Taunton

In connection with their scheme the G.W.R announces that five stations between Norton Fitzwarren and Exminster, viz., Weillington, Tiverton Junction, Cullompton, Stoke Canon, and Exminster, are to be improved and converted into 4-line stations and the 1¾ miles of line between Sampford Peverell and Tiverton Junction quadrupled. This is a continuation of the scheme of quadrupling of the seven miles of line between Cogload Junction and Norton Fitzwarren and the reconstruction of Taunton Station. [Taunton Courier; Wednesday 30th July 1930]

Based on local newspaper reports of the time, reconstruction work at Tiverton Junction commenced in about January 1932:

Big G.W.R. Scheme; Transformation of Tiverton Junction Station; Two Years’ Work.

The Great Western Railway Company are embarking on a big scheme at Tiverton Junction station, which will probably take two years to complete and during that time give employment to 200 men. When it is finished there will be a complete transformation at the station and its environments as they exist to-day.

The lay-out provides for new platforms and station buildings, new goods shed, cattle pens, and engine sheds, extension of the shunting yard, reconstruction of the bridge which carries the lines over the main road, and the straightening out and widening of the road. The main lines will be doubled, stopping trains taking the platform lines and expresses the middle through lines. Accommodation for the public will be particularly extended on the up side.

Already gangs of men have removed thousands of tons of earth on the south east side, the whole of the gardens having been taken away and the soil tipped on the up side for the prospective line widening.

The scheme will involve great expenditure. [The Devon and Exeter Daily Gazette, Thursday 14th January 1932]

Although the above article suggested a two-year timeframe for station rebuilding, works were completed in autumn of that year:

G.W.R. Alterations

For some time past extensive alterations have been undertaken by the G.W.R. to their station at Tiverton Junction, and on Sunday next, October 2nd, the last big item of work will be carried out. This will bring into use a new down platform and down platform line, 1,200 feet in length, and provide four lines through the station. The station has been completely rebuilt, new offices, and waiting rooms provided, a new signal box erected, as well as a large goods shed and locomotive shed.

The most hazardous task connected with the alterations was the building of a heavy bridge over the roadway to carry the four running lines, and this was successfully accomplished, despite the fact that full passenger and goods services were maintained.

With the completion of the work at Tiverton Junction the Company’s quadrupling scheme between Exeter and Taunton will be fully realised, and further facilities provided for the operation of passenger and goods train services. [The Western Times, Friday, 30th September 1932]

14th August 1982

Class 47 No. 47448 is seen passing by non-stop on the "up" main with BR Mk 1 passenger stock in tow in this southward view. GWR-style lamps were still in evidence on the platforms, the "down" goods sidings remained in place, and the "up" loop which formerly served the Tiverton branch platform (divering far right) was also in situ. In-between the "up" and "down" main lines, to the left of No. 47448, is rodding linking the mechanical signal box to the multitude of points. © David Glasspool Collection

14th August 1982

Semaphore signals still reigned supreme when No. 47547 was seen passing through non-stop on the "down" main. Behind the train in this northward view is Esso's oil storage depot, the private sidings of which were gated and fenced off from British Rail's land; it was to close the following year. The siding in the right foreground, curving towards the buffer stop and showing recent re-ballasting, is the remaining stub of the branch line to Hemyock, which remained open until 31st October 1975 to serve a dairy which sent milk by rail. © David Glasspool Collection


By the time InterCity 125 set No. 253011 - incorporating power car Nos. 43022 and 43023 - passed through Exeter-bound, the former Hemyock stub had lost its buffer stop and its use was prevented by a spare section of track being laid upon it; however, the siding was still in place two years later. The crossover to the left of the HST, linking the former Tiverton branch platform with the "up" loop, was dismantled in 1985. A mixed freight formation is occupying the "down" siding north of the station. © David Glasspool Collection

12th June 1984

InterCity 125 power car No. 43183 is seen leading the "Mayflower" through Tiverton Junction on the "up" main. This was a Plymouth to Paddington (and vice versa) service which ran via the Berks & Hants line. The buffer stop above the second carriage indicates that the connection between the "up" platform loop and the former Tiverton branch track - seen in the earlier 1982 view - had been taken out of use by this time. The signal box was a standard GWR design; no platform face existed behind it, that for the Tiverton branch trains being about half the length of the face provided for main line services. Dominating the background is the abattoir of West Country butcher Lloyd Maunder. © David Glasspool Collection