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Seaton Junction

Originally called 'Colyton for Seaton' and opened on 18th July 1860, then renamed Colyton Junction with the opening of the Seaton and Beer Railway (an undertaking that never had any intention of building on to Beer) on 16th March 1868, this station was finally named Seaton Junction from July 1869. That Beer was mentioned in the company name reflected an undertaking to build a road bridge across the River Axe at Seaton. The S&B originally intended to use the L&SWR's down line for their terminating branch trains, but when the new line was first inspected prior to opening, Colonel Yolland, the inspecting officer, objected to the necessity when going in or out of the station of reversing trains with passengers aboard for some 200 yards. He objected to quite a few other things, too! The Chairman of the S&B gave an undertaking (subsequently signed on 2nd March 1868) that a branch platform would be built within six months and, the other matters having been put right or in the process of being put right, the new line passed its second inspection on 19th February 1868.
Most branch line trains terminated at the junction station, though some did run through to Exeter and there were, of course, through coaches to and from Waterloo attached to and detached from the branch train. There were also once daily through services to Axminster and to Waterloo and, for a while, Great Western excursion traffic arriving via Chard.
 
Seaton Junction

photograph by Stephen Hughes, courtesy of Terry Heeley

The Seaton pull 'n' push train in the branch platform during the 1950s.

 
The branch line flourished, showing a profit for both its owners and the L&SWR who leased it for the first twenty years until, on 3 January 1888 the latter bought the smaller company. 76 years and 1 month later, on 3rd February 1964, goods traffic was withdrawn with the branch closing completely on 7th March 1966, despite still handling considerable traffic. The junction station closed on the same date, becoming no more than a milk depot from 18th April 1966, with the main line singled from 11th June 1967.
 
Seaton Junction

painting by Frederick Lea, GRA

We don't usually go in for "Artist's Impressions" so this is a bit of a treat. Frederick Lea is a well-known painter of railway scenes who will carry out commissions, which is the background to this painting. Not available for sale, it was a private commission featuring 34034 Honiton hurrying into Seaton Junction on the up through road. The person who commissioned the painting was the little boy standing beside the Signalbox with his father.

 
Once a modest station similar to near-neighbour Sidmouth Junction, Seaton Junction was completely remodelled in 1928 to include two through lines between extended platforms, with a platform for the Seaton branch trains on the down side. The branch line platform curved away sharply from the station buildings, under the concrete footbridge that spanned the whole station site. There were extensive sidings on the up side serving a milk depot and more sidings on the down side where, on Summer Saturdays, light engines could be seen awaiting a path to Exmouth Junction for servicing.

One of the prominent features of Seaton Junction was the height of the signals on the up platforms. Due to the curvature of the line through the station the view for drivers of up trains was restricted so the up starting signals were elevated on high in order that they could be seen from a distance above the station buildings. For the benefit of drivers whose trains stopped in the station, co-acting arms were placed lower down on the signalposts.

 
Seaton Junction The single line and "dead" platform behind it, together with the footbridge that connected the platforms, are reminders that once there was a station here. This was the scene taken from a second footbridge that crosses the whole station site, on 10th April 2005.

photograph by Peter Richards

 
This modern day train humming its way through the station site on the same day is in virtually the same place as 34034 in the painting above!

photograph by Peter Richards

Seaton Junction
 
With the station closed and the track reduced to a single line during the Western Region economies there are today hopes that both double track and the station will be restored here, but there is no hope for the branch that once connected the main line with the Devon coast at Seaton.
 
Seaton Junction Looking towards Exeter, the remains of the down platform/Seaton bay is visible on the left. The sole remaining line is on the alignment of the former up through road. Visible in the former yard on the right are the remains of the loading gauge.

photograph by Glen Woods

 
The former Express Dairy, with the footbridge that crosses the whole site as it carries a footpath over the former railway installation.

photograph by Glen Woods

Seaton Junction
 
Seaton Junction The station approach from the Axminster end.

photograph by Glen Woods

 
Looking towards Exeter on the remains of the former up platform.

photograph by Glen Woods

Seaton Junction

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This page was last updated 23 February 2004

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