Westward Ho!

Discussion in 'Railway History & Nostalgia' started by Masboroughlad, 9 Feb 2019.

  1. Masboroughlad

    Masboroughlad Established Member

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    Having a break in North Devon.....

    Did Westward Ho! ever have a rail link? If so, where to and when did it close?

    The resort seems to be on the up, with a lot of new development. Any chance of a railway to bring in the crowds?
     
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  3. Highlandspring

    Highlandspring Established Member

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    Yes, opened by the Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway and closed in 1917.
     
  4. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    It did indeed have a railway.
    The rather fascinating Bideford and Westward Ho! Railway.
    Opened bit by bit between 1901 and 1908, it was shut down by 1917 and stripped for the war effort. Possibly the shortest lived 'proper' railway in the country?
    There are traces of it left (I've walked bits of it).
    The carriage shed at Bideford is still in existence along with various other things.
    Not bad considering it closed over a hundred years ago.
     
  5. jimm

    jimm Established Member

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  6. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    On closure during WW1 the locomotives were requisitioned by the government and sent to the war in France, but the freighter was torpedoed on the way and so they still exist, presumably to an extent, at the bottom of the English Channel. The alignment of the railway can still be quite well traced.

    It's principal item of railwayana, West Country 4-6-2 34036 "Westward Ho!", still exists of course. Unfortunately it was one of the locos chosen for rebuilding in the 1950s, so could no longer reach Bideford near to its namesake, as only Unrebuilt locos were allowed west of Exeter.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/52g_sunderland/15366287378

    Westward Ho! still has an atmosphere of "almost made it but not quite" about the place, and always feels a bit windswept for a resort. The best description of the place is in Rudyard Kipling's novel "Stalky & Co", about time (shortly before the railway was built) at a boarding school in the town. It was Kipling's own school and the characters are all based on his contemporaries. It's very amusing. The town gasworks, which was the railway's main source of freight traffic, makes several appearences in the book.
     
  7. DavidGrain

    DavidGrain Member

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    The only railway station with an ! in its name. I saw a National Express coach in Victoria with Westward Ho! on its destination board

    Am I right in thinking that the Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway was a Colonel Stevens railway?

    Edited for typos and to make a little more sense
     
    Last edited: 10 Feb 2019
  8. pdeaves

    pdeaves Established Member

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    The railway had no connection to any other system. Temporary track had to be laid through the streets to remove a locomotive!
     
  9. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    To be annoyingly nitpicking: as treated of in the 2017 thread mentioned above, the location of the sinking concerned -- with two very recognisable tank locomotives as cargo on the ship -- has been pretty well determined: before the English Channel was reached; at a point along the coast between Clovelly and Padstow. This coastal stretch has long been a notorious "ships' graveyard", and was a happy hunting-ground for German submarines in World War I.

    I've travelled by the National Express coach route -- although for only part of its run -- from Grimsby to Westward Ho ! An itinerary to conjure with !
    No -- it was one which the Colonel never had anything to do with. My impression of the BWH!&AR, is that during its short life, it was a smarter concern, with newer and better-maintained equipment, than the famously rather ramshackle Stephens outfits.


    My bolding -- damn that wretched Great War ! (Though I understand that the BWH!&AR, when operational, signally failed to make money: had WWI not happened, or had the railway not succumbed during the war; I have difficulty seeing it surviving for a very long time past 1917.)
     
  10. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    Bideford, a bit like some other places such as Looe or Londonderry, is in two parts divided by significant estuary, connected by a single road bridge, and with the railway station on the less-significant bank. The Westward Ho! line started on the opposite shore from the LSWR station, but when competing buses began they of course just went across to the LSWR station, as well as running up the main street of everywhere along the way. What passengers the railway once had found this far more convenient. I think even in the 1960s Southern National buses were running every 10 minutes or so along the parallel road. They also went right through to Barnstaple, so instead of two trains, a bleak mid-journey walk, and hanging round for the next infrequent train, it was no contest.
     
  11. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    I must be at a loose end -- but, would you count as "proper", the Plynlimon & Hafan? 2ft. 3in. gauge -- would have thus made an attractive "third" with the Talyllyn and the Corris, if it had only lasted. Genuinely ran in public passenger and freight service, though for an ephemerally brief period -- essentially freight two years, passenger one-and-a-half: late 1897 to late 1899. Makes the BWH!&A look, as at closure, positively middle-aged in comparison.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plynlimon_and_Hafan_Tramway
     
  12. HaggisBotherer

    HaggisBotherer Member

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    I'm sorry to disappoint, but no it doesn't. As noted in the Flickr comments and documented elsewhere, that photo is of Taw Valley running with the name and number of a scrapped classmate.
     
  13. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    At loose end indeed (or confirming the wise advice "don't drink and post"), I'm aware of at least one other passenger rail facility with an exclamation-mark in its name: on the former Denver & Rio Grande 3ft gauge, now steam-and-heritage-tourist, line from Durango to Silverton in Colorado: there at any rate has been -- don't know whether it's functional nowadays -- a halt called "Ah Wilderness !".
     
  14. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Brilliant (!)
     
  15. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    I'll have a look at this later. Looks interesting.
     

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