Mark took us on a fascinating illustrated journey of the old Teign Valley Railway branch line as we “boarded” a small steam train at Heathfield and meandered through the stations and halts along this once beautiful line until we arrived at the outskirts of Exeter. Along the way we saw stations such as Christow, Trusham and Longdown from the first day they opened to travellers, through their “heydays” as transporters of the rich minerals of the Teign Valley, then their gradual decay and now their almost total devastation.
Then, as now, the Teign Valley was a beautiful and peaceful part of Devon and in great part that was the author of its demise. Mark pointed out that the passenger service on the line was never really viable economically after the 1930s and passengers at many of the stations were scarce.
As a true enthusiast Mark has a comprehensive collection of memorabilia (TVR signs, tickets and the like), maps and photographs which he very generously shared with us. This is an archive still in the making and Mark continues to seek out anything to do with the Teign Valley Railway to add to his collection (if you have anything let him know!) The older members of our audience had their own nostalgic memories of the steam trains as they chugged through the valley in sight of many of their homes, and younger members may have been wishing there was still a train to catch to work in the morning – how short-sighted these branch-line closures now seem.
So we thank Mark very much for such an informative and interesting afternoon – presenting the talk in the form of an actual journey was inspired. We will be following up the talk with a visit to the Longdown station, which still survives, and the Culver Tunnel and a walk along some of the old track towards Dunsford. This will take place in early Springtime 2020 and will be advertised in plenty of time before then. Numbers will be limited due to the parking requirements. Please keep an eye on this website for information on this as on all our other events.
Thank you to everyone who made this talk such an enjoyable event – Mark of course, and especially also Jane, Andy and Sharon for setting up and clearing up. The event made £280 for the Village Hall funds so a further thank you to everyone who came.