This cache is placed within a short distance of the main station and should be easy to do as a cache and dash if required. Please bring a writing implement with you – the log book needs to be signed.
Totnes railway station opened in 1847 as part of the South Devon Railway network and acted as a terminus until the following year when the Exeter to Plymouth line was completed. At one point there was a freight only branch line which ran down to the quay at Totnes wharf (plains) and the bridge which carried this line can still be partially seen adjacent to the footpath that leads from the main station towards the riverside walk. In May 1892, Brunel’s Broad Gauge track was replaced with the standard 4’ 8 1/2” that we still use today. You can still see the tall red brick chimney of the old pumping station built to operate the atmospheric railway but that system was moth-balled before this building could be put to use. In 1876, the South Devon Railway became part of the wonderful Great Western Railway.
On 1 January 1948 the Great Western Railway was nationalised to become the Western Region of British Railways. Passenger services to Ashburton were withdrawn on 3 November 1958 and the branch line closed entirely on 10 September 1962. A few months earlier, on 14 April 1962, a fire destroyed the main buildings situated on the westbound platform at Totnes. General goods traffic was withdrawn in 1965, although coal continued to be handled until the end of ’67 and milk until 1980, from the dairy that incorporates the building intended for the atmospheric engines.
A new station building was opened on 21 October 1983 to replace the temporary buildings that had served the station since the fire in 1962 and not much has changed since. The signal box is now a lineside café and I noted when I visited recently there was a new footbridge being constructed.
Totnes station is very straight, bright and there is quite a width between the long platforms. This allows the enthusiast to gain some good photographs, especially of the extra long new Class 800 Hitachi built passenger trains which are visiting us on a more frequent basis now, and which are once more in green livery.
Happy hunting and don’t miss my other cache nearby for the heritage line.