- Riviera Line
color = #efefef
name = Riviera Line|
img1 = Dawlish Shell Cove.jpg
cap1 = The Riviera Line near Dawlish|
lbl1 = Location
lbl2 = From
row2 = Exeter St Davids
lbl3 = To
row3 = Paignton
lbl4 = Distance
row4 = convert|28.25|mi|km|0
lbl6 = Owner
lbl7 = Principal operator
First Great Western
lbl8 = Other operators
CrossCountry South West Trains
lbl9 = Freight operators
EWS, Freightliner UK|
hdr2 = Connecting routes|
lbl21 = At Exeter St Davids
Avocet Line London to Penzance Line Tarka Line West of England Main Line
lbl22 = At Aller Junction
London to Penzance Line
lbl23 = At Paignton
row23 = Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Ry|
hdr3 = Infrastructure|
lbl31 = Line speed
row31 = convert|60|mph|km/h|abbr=on main line
convert|40|mph|km/h|abbr=on Paignton branch
lbl32 = Number of tracks
row32 = 2
lbl33 = Route Availability
row33 = 8, 6
lbl34 = Freight gauge
row34 = W7, W6A
lbl35 = Key features
South Devon Railway sea wall|
hdr4 = History|
lbl41 = Opened
row41 = 1846 - 1859
lbl42 = Built by
South Devon Railway Dartmouth and Torbay Railway
lbl43 = Subsequent owner
Great Western Railway British Railways
The Riviera Line is a local railway line that connects the city of
Exeterto the "English Riviera" resorts of Torbayin Devon, England. It is closely linked with the London to Penzance Linewith which it shares the route along the South Devon sea wall. It is part of the Network RailRoute 12 (Reading to Penzance).cite web| title =Network Rail Business Plan 2007: Route 12| url =http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browse%20documents/BusinessPlan2007/PDF/Route%2012%20Reading%20to%20Penzance.pdf| format =
The line from Exeter to Teignmouth was opened by the South Devon Railway on
30 May 1846and was extended to Newton Abbot on 30 December 1846. After the company had completed its main line to Plymouthit opened a branch from Newton Abbot to Torquay (the present Torre railway stationon 18 December 1848. Nine years later this was extended as the independent Dartmouth and Torbay Railwayto Paignton on 2 August 1859. [cite book| last = Gregory| first = R H| title = The South Devon Railway| publisher = Oakwood Press| date = 1982| location = Salisbury| id = ISBN 0-853612-86-2]
These lines were built as single-track, RailGauge|84
broad gaugerailways by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. They were designed for atmospheric power and although this was only used from 13 September 1847until 9 September 1848;cite book| last = Kay| first = Peter | title = Exeter - Newton Abbot: A Railway History| publisher = Platform 5 Publishing| date = 1991| location = Sheffield| id = ISBN 1-872524-42-7 ] the remains of several of the engine houses used for the stationary engines can still be seen by the side of the line. The track was converted to standard gaugeon May 21 1892. Double track was laid in sections over a period of several years, requiring the widening or removal of several tunnels near Teignmouth.
The Dartmouth and Torquay Railway was operated from the outset by the South Devon Railway and amalgamated with it in 1872. This company in turn amalgamated with the
Great Western Railwayon 1 February 1876which lasted until 31 December 1947after which it was nationalised as part of British Railways.
Local passenger services on the line are currently operated by
First Great Western. Most days see an approximately hourly service calling at all stations, which runs beyond Exeter to and from Exmouth along the Avocet Line. On Sundays a more restricted service operates, most of which terminate at Exeter.cite web| title = National Rail Timetable 135 (Winter 2007)|url = http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browse%20documents/timetables/timetables/Table135.pdf|format=
Other services on the line include First Great Western express services from London Paddington,
South West Trainsfrom London Waterloo, [cite web| title = National Rail Timetable 160 (Winter 2007)|url = http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browse%20documents/timetables/timetables/Table160.pdf|format= CrossCountryservices from the Midlands and the North. [cite web| title = National Rail Timetable 51 (Winter 2007)|url = http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browse%20documents/timetables/timetables/Table51.pdf |format=
Trains going towards Paignton are described as travelling in the "down" direction; those towards Exeter in the "up". The line is double track throughout except for a long single-lead junction at Newton Abbot where trains are turned off the main line onto the Paignton branch. Loops at Dawlish Warren allow slow trains to be overtaken, as does the flexible layout at Newton Abbot where all three platforms can access the Paignton branch. At Exeter St Davids, Riviera Line trains generally use platforms 3 and 4 as these allow access to and from Exeter Central and the Avocet line; starting or terminating trains may also use platforms 5 and 6. At Paignton down trains may arrive in the up platform; if they arrive in the down platform they must shunt across to the up before departure, generally via the sidings at Goodrington.
Between Exeter and Newton Abbot the predominant speed limit is 60 mph, the route availability is RA8, and freight loading gauge is W7. On the Paignton branch the predominant speed limit is 40 mph, the route availability RA6, and the freight loading gauge W6A. Multiple aspect signals are controlled from the panel signal box at Exeter and allow a headway between trains of four minutes from there to Newton Abbot and seven minutes onwards to Paignton. The sea wall section is signalled for trains to run either way on the up (landward) line to allow for restricted working in the event of sea damage to the down line. [cite book| last = Oakley| first = Mike| title = Devon Railway Stations| publisher = The Dovecote Press| date = 2007| location = Wimbourne| id = ISBN 1-904349-55-6]
The Paignton branch has been identified as a "fragile route" "where the addition of any further loco hauled traffic would have a significant impact on the residual life of track and/or structures." The three stations on the branch are currently under consideration for the provision of improved facilities but this is dependent on third-party funding being made available.
The route is described from Exeter to Paignton for a passenger facing the direction of travel, which will put the sea on their left.
Exeter to Newton Abbot
Exeter– Starcross(and Exmouthvia a seasonal ferry service) – Dawlish Warren– Dawlish– Teignmouth– Newton Abbot"
On leaving Exeter St Davids, the line crosses the
River Exeand a parallel flood relief channel, then passes above the suburbs of Exeteralong a stone viaducton which is situated Exeter St Thomas railway station. The church of St David with its spire, and the older Exeter Cathedral, can be seen on the hill above the river. Beyond this is an industrial area where two lines used to branch out. On the left a short line went down to the Exeter Canalat City Basin; on the right a longer branch ran to Heathfield on the Newton Abbot to Moretonhampstead branch. [cite book| last = MacDermot| first = E T| title = History of the Great Western Railway, volume II 1863-1921| publisher = Great Western Railway| date = 1931| location = London]
Once out in the countryside our line crosses marshes as it runs alongside the canal and river. What looks like a
level crossingin the fields near Countess Wearis actually a lifting bridge across the canal. After passing the site of Exminster railway stationthe canal comes more clearly into view on the left and joins the River Exe, as does the railway, at Turf. The square pond next to the line is the site of Turf engine house. This stretch of the line used to have long water troughs between the rails from which steam locomotives could refill their water tanks without stopping.From Powderham Castlethe railway is right alongside the river; on the right of the line is the castle's deer park, while on the left, across the river, trains on the Avocet Linemay be seen near Lympstone Commando railway station. Our train now enters the village of Starcross; beyond Starcross railway stationis the pier for the Exmouth to Starcross Ferryand the old Starcross engine house.
A little further along the river the railway crosses the mouth of
Cockwoodharbour. Near the shipwreck here was the convert|1285|ft|m long Exe Bight Pier, in use from 1869 for about ten years. Dawlish Warrennow comes into sight; the sand dunes are home to a nature reserve where many wading and sea birds can be seen. The railway line opens out into four lines at Dawlish Warren railway station, where the platforms are alongside loop lines that allow fast trains to overtake stopping services.
On the left is the beach and seaside amusements; on the right are some
camping coaches in the old goods yard. The railway now comes onto the Sea Wall which it shares with a footpath, although it quickly enters the short and deep cutting at Langstone Rock. Emerging above the beach, views can be had across the sea towards Torbay.
Dawlish railway station, Coastguard's Cottage is on the right. Although now a cafe, this building was used by the railway during its construction and then sold to the coastguard. Their boat house is below the footbridge. The town can be seen off to the right from Colonnade Viaduct at the other end of the station.
The line now enters its first tunnel, the convert|265|yd|m Kennaway Tunnel [cite book| last = Cooke| first = RA| title = Track Layout Diagrams of the GWR and BR WR, Section 14: South Devon| publisher = RA Cooke| date = 1984| location = Harwell] beneath Lea Mount, beyond which is Coryton beach where the footpath along the Sea Wall ends, and then convert|227|yd|m Coryton tunnel. The next beach is the private Shell Cove and then the railway passes through convert|49|yd|m Phillot Tunnel and convert|58|yd|m Clerk's Tunnel, emerging onto a section of sea wall at Breeches Rock before diving into convert|513|yd|m Parson's Tunnel beneath Hole Head. The last two tunnels are named after the Parson and Clerk Rocks, two stacks in the sea off Hole Head. When the tunnel was dug the workers cut into a smugglers tunnel which ran from a hidden entrance above the cliff down to a secluded cove.
Beyond Parson's Tunnel is a short
viaductacross Smugglers Lane and then the footpath resumes alongside the line for the final stretch of the Sea Wall past Sprey Point to the cutting at Teignmouth Eastcliff. On the right side of the railway near Sprey Point can be seen the remains of a lime kilnused during the construction of the line.
The railway passes through to
Teignmouth railway stationthen continues through a cutting to emerge behind the busy Teignmouth Harbour, after which the railway resumes its course alongside the water, the River Teign. The cuttings on both sides of the station were originally tunnels and were opened out between 1879 and 1884. The railway passes under the ShaldonBridge and then follows the river past the small promontories at Flow Point, Red Rock, and Summer House, opposite which can be seen the waterside inn at Coombe Cellars.
After leaving the riverside the line crosses Hackney Marshes and passes between the railway sidings at Hackney Yard (left), and the
race courseand former Moretonhampstead branch (right). The industrial area to the left of Newton Abbot railway stationis the site of the South Devon Railway locomotive workshops – the older stone buildings are the only surviving railway buildings.
Newton Abbot to Paignton
Newton Abbot– Torre– Torquay– Paignton"
Leaving Newton Abbot the railway widens out to four tracks; the two for Penzance diverge to the right at Aller Junction while the Riviera Line trains climb and then slowly descend towards the sea at Torquay. First though, they pass through the remains of the former
Kingskerswell railway station.cite book| last = Potts| first = C R| title = The Newton Abbot to Kingswear Railway (1844 - 1988)| publisher = Oakwood Press| date = 1998| location = Oxford| id = ISBN 0-853613-87-7]
Torre railway stationthe line curves through a cutting; the Torquay engine house still stands on the top of the cutting on the right. The stone building on the left is the old goods shed, while sidings for coal traffic were situated on the opposite side of the line. The disused signal boxon the eastbound platform was unusually tall to allow the signalman to look over the footbridgeto see trains approaching up the steep gradient.
Our train now drops down this to reach
Torquay railway stationopened in 1859, although today's large stone buildings and old signal box date from 1878. Unlike the original Torquay station (now Torre), this one is right by the beach at Abbey Sands and a level promenade links it with the harbour and town centre.
On leaving the station the line passes beneath an ornamental cast iron bridge, through a small cutting, and then climbs alongside Livermead Beach to the site of Torquay Gas Works, now a park on the right of the line. It then passes a headland at Preston before dropping down again into Paignton, with more views of the beaches and sea. Immediately outside
Paignton railway stationis a busy level crossingright in the town centre. The ticket office is now situated in the 1859 goods shed; the bus stationis right outside the front door while the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railwayis situated alongside on the other side of the station.
The railway line continues beyond the station to reach carriage sidings at Goodrington Sands and to provide a connection that allows special trains to run through to Kingswear over the
Apart from Exeter and Newton Abbot, the busiest station on the line is Paignton, however traffic growth in recent years has been mainly on the main line section at Dawlish and Teignmouth. [cite web|title =Station Usage|work =Rail Statistics|publisher =Office of Rail Regulation| url=http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.1529|accessdate = 2008-06-30] The statistics are for passengers arriving and departing from each station and cover twelve month periods that start in April.
outh West Coast Path
South West Coast Pathis the longest national trail in the United Kingdom[ [http://www.southwestcoastpath.com/ South West Coast Path website] ] and the Riviera Line runs alongside it for much of its length. The Path crosses the River Exe on the ferry to Starcross station and then follows the road to Dawlish Warren where it joins the Sea Wall to Dawlish. It then climbs up onto the cliffs above Kennaway Tunnel before rejoining the Sea Wall at Parsons Tunnel to follow the line to Eastcliffe at Teignmouth.
It again follows closely from Abbey Sands (by Torquay station) to Preston Sands at Paignton. It also follows alongside the
Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railwayfrom Goodrington to Broadsands, the beach near Churston railway station.
The Path thus gives opportunities to observe trains at close hand, and also provides links for linear walks between stations, including Kingswear.
*cite book| last = Beck| first = Keith| coauthor = Copsey, John| title = The Great Western in South Devon| publisher = Wild Swan Publication| date = 1990| location = Didcot| id = ISBN 0-906867-90-8
*cite book| last = Great Western Railway| title = Through the Window. Number 1 – Paddington to Penzance| publisher = Great Western Railway| date = 1924| location = London
*cite web| last =Hesp| first =Martin| title =My magnificent rail journey| work =Western Morning News| publisher =Western Morning News|url=http://www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/news/magnificent-rail-journey/article-209062-detail/article.html| date =2008| accessdate = 2008-07-14
*cite book| last = St John Thomas| first = David| title = West Country Railway History| publisher = David and Charles| date = 1973| location = Newton Abbot| id = ISBN 0-715363-63-8
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