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1st Take’s popular series of films on the Branch Lines of England, based on the best-selling books of Colin Maggs, now features the beautiful county of Devon.
This first volume on Devon explores what remains of the stations and infrastructure of the branch lines in the Exeter area, and the central, eastern and southern parts of the county. Illustrated by superb modern film, explanatory maps and rare archive photographs and footage, we tell the story of railways which once provided a valuable service in carrying passengers and freight around Devon, as well as taking holidaymakers to the seaside.
At one extreme there was the Exmouth branch – the nearest the West Country comes to a suburban-type commuter railway – which still thrives as the ‘Avocet Line’ with stunning views of the Exe Estuary; and the Paignton branch, which could for many years almost be considered a main-line. At the other end of the scale was the Culm Valley Light Railway, an oddity which demanded restrictions on rolling stock and locomotives with a short wheelbase. Many Devon branch lines were originally built to the broad gauge and were later narrowed, some lasting until the very end of the wider gauge in 1892.
Our railway odyssey includes visits to Axminster, Seaton, Sidmouth, Exmouth, Tiverton, Newton Abbot, Torquay, Paignton, Brixham, Dartmouth and a host of villages where minor stations and halts were once a lifeline to Devon’s rural community. Happily, not all these branch lines have been lost forever. Several have been recreated as preserved lines, and among the many highlights of our tour are visits to South Devon Railway, Devon Railway Centre, the Dartmouth Steam Railway, the Exeter & Teign Valley Railway and Seaton Tramway. The enthusiasm of those people who are keeping Devon’s railway heritage alive helps to make this DVD an essential addition to your collection, or an ideal gift.