Despite having only a mile of track reopened so far, the North Devon railway, which starts at Woody Bay Station, has achieved the impressive milestone of half a million passengers since reopening in 2004.
The railway, which first opened independently in 1898 had a fairly short working life having been bought out by Southern Railway in the 1920s. Despite a number of cost saving measures being implemented and extra investment in the line, the railway made many losses and was subsequently closed in the late summer of 1935. The line lay dormant for many decades until the L&BR association was formed in 1979 who then went on to form the railway company in the early nineties. Once the station building at Woody Bay had been purchased the railway went on to carry its first passenger service in 2004.
The railway has big plans for further extending the line, with North Devon Council approving the railway’s application for ‘phase 2a’ of the project last year, which would extend the line four-and-a-half miles beyond Blackmoor Gate and convert local pub 'the Old Station House Inn' into a station, workshop and restaurant.
Another milestone was hit earlier this year at the railway when the line saw its famous LYN locomotive return this year, but as a new-build replica after some £600k investment.
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