THE award-winning Lynton & Barnstaple Railway is planning to raise £16.5 million to extend its running line to Blackmoor Gate and Wistlandpound Reservoir after being given the green light by the Exmoor National Park Authority.
On March 6, at its meeting in Lynton Town Hall, members of the park authority voted 15-0 to give the heritage line permission to relay 3 ½ miles of the legendary heritage line from Killington Lane, the current western terminus, to Blackmoor Gate.
Approval was also given to the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Trust to build an engineering centre, sidings and rolling stock shed north of Blackmoor Gate, with the change of use of a barn for the purpose.
A 162-space car park on the site of the old Blackmoor Gate Hotel on the other side of the A39 with a pedestrian underpass was also approved.
North Devon Council has already granted permission to reinstate a further mile of track between Blackmoor Gate and Wistlandpound Reservoir and to convert the Old Station House Inn – the former Blackmoor station – into a combined railway station and pub.
A separate company, L&B Blackmoor Company plc, has been set up by the trust to purchase and remodel the inn, giving investors the opportunity both to support the project and to secure a return on their investment.
At present, the restored railway runs for just under a mile. Last year it carried 49,331 passengers and 52,000 in 2016 – making it one of the most popular heritage lines on a mile-for mile basis.
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