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Devon Group Trip to Honiton 27th February

Eleven of us made this trip, which due to the current engineering works around, was to include a diverted train.


1. At Barnstaple, our usual 0843 train included this single car Class 153. These useful carriages are added to the unit formations to provide more passenger accommodation. However GWR's eventual promise of slightly newer trains here in Devon means that these not yet life expired units are due off-lease very soon.

2. The 1980s built Class 153 offers good seats, windows and tables, all welcomed by today's group.

3. Time for coffee at a very unusually quiet Exeter St David's Station. The engineering works was north of Exeter on the GWR main line (relining Whiteball Tunnel) meant a rail replacement bus service instead.


We sampled a South Western Railway service on the Waterloo line as far as Axminster - the extent of our Devon Day Ranger ticket

4. At Axminster, Chris Shields took this photo of a diverted London Paddington bound HST passing through at speed.


5. Some business here for the  Axminster station cafe from our group whilst we wait the train back to Honiton.

6. Regular trip attendee, Dave Peach was today sporting his "Rail Enthusiasts Disease" T-shirt.

7. Unusually some South Western Railway Waterloo trains were only formed of a two-car Class 158, instead of 3-car 159's, so doubt more overcrowding experienced by all!

8. Lunch was at Honiton Wetherspoons.


We then caught a diverted Paddington- Plymouth GWR HST from Honiton direct to Newton Abbot including rare running non-stop through Exeter Central and reversing at Exeter St David's.

9. At Newton Abbot the group patronised the model railway shop and a local cafe for afternoon tea/coffee and cake.

10. Finally, another pub stop on the return. The Atmospheric Inn at Starcross. (Named after Brunel's Atmospheric Railway. Completed in 1847 on a single broad-gauge track, the atmospheric-powered service lasted less than a year, from 1847 to September 10th 1848. The failure of the system resulted in the South Devon Railway company experiencing financial difficulties for many years.


Words and photos by Nigel Thompson, apart from photo No.4 by Chris Shields

Group: 

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