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Digby and Sowton Station

Page added 17 November 2008

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The London and South Western Railway opened a halt known as the Clyst St Mary and Digby Halt on the Exmouth line on the 1 June 1908. A 120 ft (37 metre) platform, constructed from railway sleepers, was installed on the Exmouth line. The station was closed on the 27 September 1948. More than ten years before the Clyst St Mary and Digby Halt opened, the 9.30 Express from Exmouth hit a man walking on the line at Digby. The driver and fireman saw the man walking between the tracks, when they blew the whistle to attract his attention. The man appeared "somewhat strange in his manner, looked around but seemed to take no notice." The driver applied the brakes but the train hit the man before it came to a halt. He was taken taken to Queen Street Station and then conveyed to the Devon and Exeter Hospital where he was found to have a severe injury to his head.

Forty five odd years after the old station closed, and in an age when the opening of a new railway facility, apart from prestige high-speed lines, is rare, Digby and Sowton Station was opened on 29 May 1995. The present station was sited 380 yards (350 metres) south of the old station. It has a single, concrete platform faced with paving bricks, and has a metal and glass shelter for passengers. It was built to serve the newly expanding housing development at the old Digby Hospital, and the expansion of the Sowton Industrial Estate. An unstaffed halt, passengers can purchase their tickets from a machine, for services on the Avocet line to Exmouth, or back to Exeter and on to Torquay and Paignton, or Barnstaple.

Although its position was chosen to serve the Sowton and Digby developments, but has been found to be an uncomfortable walk for either. There is a park-and-ride facility close by as well as a regular bus to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital in Barrack Road. The station also provides rail access for the Exeter Chiefs' Rugby Stadium at Sandygate. It is operated by First Great Western.

Digby and Sowton Station
The graffitied front of the station. Queen Street Station 1916 - Queen Street The metal and glass shelter looking down the line. Both photographs are © Owen Dunn.

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