Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The wonderful Lynton & Barnstaple Railway

This is a tremendous video by Rediscovering Lost Railways that blends archive and contemporary footage. It shows us the 19-mile Lynton & Barnstaple Railway under operation and what remains of the route today, including a short restored stretch.

I dream that the whole line will be restored one day by the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Trust. It was closed by the Southern Railway in 1935.

A few points:

  • I once posted my photo of Barnstaple Town station standing derelict in 1962.
  • The prime mover in the building of the line was Sir George Newnes, who was Liberal MP for Newmarket between 1885 and 1895, and for Swansea between 1900 and the first election of 1910.
  • The publishing company that Newnes founded brought out most of Malcolm Saville's Lone Pine stories.
  • Bratton Fleming, which also had a station on the line, was the scene of the service of thanksgiving for the acquittal of Jeremy Thorpe.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

“Perchance it is not dead, but sleepeth” wrote an admirer of the line when it closed in 1935, an eloquent remark quoted at the end of this delightful film. Given that it was to be another 16 years before a group of volunteers at the Talyllyn Railway (with John Betjeman as Member No 1) demonstrated that a railway could indeed be brought back from the dead, that was a truly far-sighted comment.
What is striking (by contrast with the so far unavailing attempts to revive the Southwold Railway, which closed in 1929) is the level of support the new company appears to have secured among the people of the area. Even though I don’t think I’ll live to see it, I think they’ll succeed.