Culm Valley Light Railway
|Culm Valley Light Railway|
The Culm Valley Light Railway was a railway that operated in the English county of Devon. Opened in 1876, it was built by local enterprise. The line was purchased by the Great Western Railway, which had operated it from the start, in 1880. The line closed to passengers in 1963 but served the milk depot at Hemyock until 1975.
Planning and Construction
Receiving Royal Assent in 1873, construction started the next year. There were delays but the line opened on 29 May 1876. Typically low budget it followed existing boundaries and the Culm Valley and avoided the need for any major engineering works. After early plans for eastward expansion faded, the line settled down to serve the local area, and eked out a quiet existence carrying sparse local passengers, agricultural produce and the output of a large dairy plant at Hemyock.
Operated by the Great Western from its inception, it was transferred to the Western Region of British Railways on nationalisation in 1948. Services worked to Tiverton Junction on the Bristol to Exeter line, and some through workings to and from Tiverton on the Exe Valley Railway. The Tiverton Junction train had the nickname "The Tivvy Bumper", a nickname that one of the preserved 1400 class locos, 1442, carries to this day. 
Motive power and rolling stock
Motive power was provided largely by the Charles Collett designed GWR 1400 Class 0-4-2T steam locomotive. Freight stock was a mixed bag of trucks and carriage stock was limited to a few old four wheel carriages by the sharp curves which were a legacy of the line's original economic construction. Even after nationalisation, British Railways were obliged to use two ex-Barry Railway gas lit four wheel coaches on the line. This was necessary as the speed limit on the line was too low for the dynamos on most coaches to power electric lighting.
Decline and closure
The service was always slow and vulnerable to increasing road transport and car ownership. Passenger use declined and so the railway closed to passengers on 9 September 1963, and to general freight on the 6 September 1965. However, the line continued to serve the dairy at Hemyock until 31 October 1975. During this time it received visits from the occasional railtour.
The line today
Today the line forms some popular riverside walks at various points along the valley. The reopening of the line has been raised but this is unlikely as the M5 motorway has been built over the track with no bridge. The station sites have been redeveloped.
- R.V.J.Butt (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-85260-508-1.
- Colin G. Maggs (2006). The Culm Valley Light Railway - Tiverton Junction to Hemyock. The Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-652-3.
- Paul Karau (1977). Great Western Branch Line Termini (combined edition). Oxford Publishing Company and Paul Karau. ISBN 0-86093-369-5.
- Iain Rice (1990). Model Railway Layout Design. Wild Swan Publications Ltd and Iain Rice. ISBN 0-906867-85-1. (Although a book on modelling technique it contains some photographs of the line and useful station track plans).
↑Jump back a section
Read in another language
This page is available in 1 language