THE Tarka Valley Railway has been granted a lease by Devon County Council to occupy the first quarter mile of the former Southern Railway trackbed from Torrington towards Bideford.
The lease, signed after many years of talks, is for an initial 12 years and is seen as a significant development in the railway’s goal to establish a working heritage railway at Torrington.
Built by the North Devon Railway, the town’s station opened on July 18, 1872, and trains operated by the LSWR ran to Bideford, Barnstaple and Exeter.
In 1880, the line linked up with the narrow gauge freight-only Torrington & Marland Railway to the south. In 1925 the narrow gauge railway was rebuilt as a standard gauge line and opened through to Halwill Junction as the North Devon & Cornwall Junction Light Railway.
The station was closed for regular passenger services in 1965 under the Beeching Axe, but freight trains and the occasional passenger special used the line until 1982.
Read more in Issue 242 of HR – on sale now!