Some Photos Looking Back at Dartmoor Railway

Looking back at the Dartmoor Railway

It has been 10 years now since my last visit to Dartmoor Railway. I was planning another visit for this year but due to COVID19 it isn’t possible. In addition, early 2020 brought disheartening news as it was announced that the railway was closed down in administration.

This post shares a few images from my last visit, 10 years ago.

10 Years Ago

Back then, the final stop on the line was known as Meldon Quarry. Just several years earlier, Meldon saw regular freight trains to the Quarry, owned by Aggregate Industries. Quarry operations by rail have since ceased but the site is still used.

Meldon Quarry

Meldon Quarry is now called Meldon Viaduct, named after the railway viaduct that runs over the River Okement.

Meldon Viaduct
Meldon Viaduct

Above, Meldon Viaduct. The structure was deemed too weak to support rail traffic. It is now part of The Granite Way – an 11 mile walk/cycle path between Okehampton and Lydford.

Meldon Dam and Reservior
The view of Meldon looking from Meldon Viaduct. The West River Okement runs from Meldon reservoir where it forks with the East River Okement at Okehampton Lidl.

In the below photo, an array of departmental machines and wagons, alongside some older BR EMU vehicles.

From what I can deduce from the photograph:

  • Geismar GP-TRAMM ZWA DR98303 looking rather disused. Ex Balfour Beatty.
  • 4-TC set 417 lurks behind the departmental DR98303.
  • Some sort of unbranded 2 axle stone wagon.
  • There are a number of coaches in the background difficult to identify.
Railway Stock at Meldon
Railway stock at Meldon Quarry. Going by Google Maps, these vehicles are no longer here – whatever happened to them?

Parked up at the Viaduct end of Meldon, a rake of coaches. These coaches were used for staff accommodation during running periods.

Meldon Quarry Coaches
Buffet Coach Meldon Quarry, vehicle 69310.
Virgin Coach
Run down vehicles at Meldon

Above, some run down vehicles at Meldon Quarry, including a Virgin MK2. In the background, S103 Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0T steam locomotive under restoration by a private owner. A class 47 can also be seen lurking in the background, by its distinctive cab roof. A close-up photo of the 47 below.

47701 Loco

47701 is named “Waverly” and is owned by Nemesis Rail. It is seen above hidden behind some other rolling stock.

Passenger services back then were run using D4167. Several years later, Thumper 1132 was used, either instead of or alongside the “gronk”.
Thumper at Okehampton
Thumper 1132 at Okehampton. As expected in the South West, the weather wasn’t great.

The staff at Okehampton provided a very warm welcome in the shop and cafe.  I took the opportunity to purchase the summer 2011 back issue of Dartmoor Pony which features 50008 “Thunderer” on the front cover.

Meldon Quarry
Meldon Quarry, with Quarry buildings in the background. At a guess, i’d say the above is a 4CEP but the numbers are not clear in the photo.
Wickham Trolley
A Wickham Trolley at the viaduct end of the quarry.
Dartmoor Railway Flying Falcon
Flying Falcon, an John Fowler industrial shunter at Meldon Quarry.

Flying Falcon is Dartmoor Railway’s industrial shunter, owned by Aggregate Industries. The above photo was taken on one of my earlier visits however in 2011 I couldn’t find it. During 2006, it was parked up along with the buffet car seen several photos up. It spends most of its time now hidden behind old stock (going by Google Maps).

Today

There is some fantastic news circling that plans for a regular passenger service between Exeter and Okehampton is being drawn up. Recently a lot of work has been undertaken at Okehampton renewing track for future use. Until the plans are approved and underway, I look forward to catching a train back to Okehampton, and walking to Meldon Viaduct.

matt
Author: matt

Owner of Rail Record

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