Save Ashburton Station!

This is the Campaign Page is for information relating to the proposed redevelopment of the area in Ashburton that include the railway line and station area.

The aim of the Campaign are to:

1.  Safeguard the historic buildings that  make up Ashburton station for future heritage use (should be easy!)

2. Overthrow the present redevelopment scheme in order to safeguard the whole station site, including the trackbed towards Buckfastleigh for possible future rail reinstatement by the South Devon Railway (tough, but let’s go for it!).

3.  Encourage the DNPA to see that returning the railway to Ashburton is a more beneficial use of the land than a ‘mixed development’ by its existing owners. (Possible?)

The most important point is that, even if the station, roof sand goods shed are protected (as they may well be anyway), Ashburton will be lost FOREVER as a possible future terminus for the South Devon Railway.

The background to the current situation and how the station came to be abandoned even though the Dart Valley Railway (as the SDR was at the time) is described in a statement by Allan Taylor, the chairman of the SDR Trust at the bottom of the page.  The Wikipedia information page is here.

The time to act to stop this proposal is NOW! The Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) is the responsible body for the planning process and they are responsive to comments made about the scheme.  They seem slightly taken aback by our suggestions so far that we may want the area used for trains again!  So this point needs to be made very forcefully.

The DNPA Masterplan for the Area: Download the pdf of the plan from this link.

Use all social media to build overwhelming support for the campaign to Keep Ashburton Station for the South Devon Railway.  Twitter link here:  #saveashburtonstation

If you would like to add your voice to this vital campaign, please go to our Blog page which has a sample letter to send out to the DNPA. Just cut, edit and paste your views to them.

Chuley Road Masterplan Facebook Page: hosted by the DNPA

Friends of Ashburton Station FB Page: hosted by enthusiasts. Lots of good information.

South Devon Railway website.  Let’s encourage them to revisit Ashburton as a destination for the line.

Background Information:

Allan Taylor, chairman of the South Devon Railway Trust writes:

“I am impressed with the support and enthusiasm this campaign has generated and would like to clarify the SDR’s historic and current position.
In the mid 1990’s the SDR looked at the possibility of returning the railway to the original station at Ashburton. The route was surveyed and would have required a tunnel under the A38 followed by a completely new formation up the Ashburn Valley as far as Pear Tree Cross where the old formation (now Bulliver’s Way) would be regained. Work was undertaken to establish land ownership as the new formation would require significant land purchase and all landowners were contacted, approximately two thirds were supportive or non-committal, the remainder failed to respond. Exeter University undertook a feasibility study and the construction costs in 1997 were estimated at £5m to which would have to be added the cost of land acquisition. With inflation the current construction cost alone is probably around £20m. All the original files are retained in our archives.
In those days the SDR operated the Buckfastleigh – Totnes line under a 25 year lease from the DVR. We were then offered the opportunity to negotiate the purchase of the freehold and the board judged this should be our immediate priority in order to secure our long term future. It was also felt that raising the £1.15m cost of the freehold was more achievable than the £5m+ cost of going back to Ashburton and, significantly at that time, there was no major threat to the continued survival of the old buildings. We therefore stated that we would only pursue the extension project if someone could raise the required funds and prove its commercial viability (to avoid an adverse impact on the existing railway).
The freehold was finally secured in 2001 and since then we have maintained the above position, that is the extension would have our support if funds could be found. Now that there is a direct threat to some of the old infrastructure the board will be asked at their next meeting later this month to support the moves by the campaign group to secure the future of the railway heritage in Ashburton, I anticipate this will be forthcoming and we will therefore respond to the consultation process accordingly. I am also hopeful that at least one of our directors will be attending the public meeting. Unfortunately we would be unable to provide any financial support at this stage as we need all our resources to maintain what we already have.
Alan Taylor
South Devon Railway Trust

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