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Bow Station, Devon

Images of the Station

“Two magnificent station houses were constructed at Bow and North Tawton, fine tributes to
the Devon and Cornwall Railway, and both still stand to this day”

Bow Station in Southern Railway days, possibly late-1920s
The earliest photograph of Bow Station we have been able to find. Despite often being labelled LSWR,
we have reasons to believe that it post-dates the grouping in 1923. Clues are in the staff caps and station
signs – all Southern Railway livery.
The image has appeared in several publications but the original
source is unknown.

Bow Station c.1920-30
Another early photograph of Bow Station. Although not dated, the platform extension on the
up side
is clearly the original wooden LSWR structure, later replaced by ubiquitous SR concrete
from the Exmouth Junction works. The Monkey Puzzle tree is distinctive
(source unknown).

Bow Station forecourt on 3 August 1955
We wonder who owned the Austin car, possibly the photographer and presumably traceable
from its registration number ALW 612? Note the station barrow just behind the car, now to be
found at Williton on the West Somerset Railway (see Memorabilia page). (s
ource unknown).

Bow Station looking up on 5 September 1961
Not terribly clear but note the lantern at the far end of the down platform and the swan-neck
lamps on either platform nearer the camera (Graham Bowden collection).

Bow Station down platform on 9 June 1962
The lantern is clearly marked "BOW" but the lanterns, the canopy, the signal box, the magnificent
tree in the forecourt, and the Monkey Puzzle tree noted earlier are all sadly long gone.

Bow Station forecourt on 21 September 1967
A fine panoramic view showing a long-lamented tree and the gated entrance to the goods
yard. The poster board to the left has a "British Railways" header (Graham Bowden collection).

The signal box on 21 September 1967
The original weatherboarded superstructure was replaced with brick. What happened
to that wonderful enamel sign? (Graham Bowden collection).

The goods shed on 21 September 1967
Note the cattle dock in the foreground and Railway Cottages behind to the left. The shed has
since been converted into accommodation for MC Slates (Graham Bowden collection).

The station building c.1970-71
No station should be treated like this, demoted to a halt and the station buildings stripped and
all
boarded up. The only survivors seem to be a final(?) timetable, the first aid cabinet and
presumably the photographer's bike
.

The up-platform shelter c.1970-71
In a sorry state just before final closure but the posters are interesting. A timetable is supplemented
by advertisements for the Railair Link service and the Royal Smithfield Show at Earls Court.

Bow Station building in 1972
An image of the front of the station building from an unusual direction taken on 16th May 1972,
just 20 days before closure. The shed, water tank and associated structure,
and the sloping front
wall have subsequently all gone, now replaced by a flat roof with glazed lantern. Note the
British Rail van in the forecourt (image copyright © Robert Humm).

Dereliction c.1980
A very sad image with the canopy gone, all the stonework missing from the north end
gable
of the waiting rooms roof, a collapsing wall at the west end, and weeds invading
the windows and doorways. The Gents toilet appears in ruins
.

Aerial view of Bow Station in 1996
There are various developments to the main building and surrounding garden but the engine shed has not
been converted and the yard is still mainly a salvage business (it later specialised in slate and natural stone).
The shelter on the platform opposite has been demolished and the slabs have been lifted but not removed
(apparently they were bought by the West Somerset Railway).

Bow Station in March 2006
A view from the railway side on a rainy day.

Aerial view of Bow Station on 6 August 2009
No significant changes to the building itself except for a small roof lantern. There is
considerable growth in the garden and on the remains of the opposite platform. The
next door slate and stone business is developing.

Aerial view of Bow Station on 6 October 2013
The earlier entrance porch has been replaced with a linked octagonal conservatory. There are
developments in the garden and arrival of another shed and a half-hidden ex-shipping container
for storage (later moved). The next door business continues to develop.

Aerial view of Bow Station on 7 November 2017
A similar view four years later shows few sigificant changes.

Aerial view of Bow Station on 7 November 2017
A less common view of the station building from the north. The reason for the local nickname
of ten chimneys becomes apparent.

 

Bow Station from the railway on 19 September 2021
An updated view in evening sunlight to show the 'new' wheel gate and iron railings. The gate is constructed from
a wheel from a seed drill made by E.V. Twose of Halberton, probably dating from the 1920s, whereas the railings were
rescued from Tavistock station when part of that site was developed, so they are genuine LSWR fencing but from thirty
miles or so further down the line. The comparison with the similar view taken in 2008 shows relatively little change
but note the weathervane sporting a Schools Class V loco which as far as we know never made it as far as Bow!

Bow Station forecourt on 14 October 2021
The forecourt becomes a builder's yard while Sisk Rail rebuild the down platform, under contract to
Network Rail. This became a major job with replacement coping stones, rebuilding a lot of the wall
facing the track, relaying all the blue brick edging, and extensive new tarmac. All done overnight
since the driver test trains were running. It was very messy and noisy and all for a closed station!

platform1   platform2

Platform repairs on 20 October 2021
The extent of the platform repairs is apparent in these shots, one from the Stationmaster's
bedroom and the other from the far (Crediton) end. The wall has been repaired, the blue-brick
edging relaid, the existing damaged tarmac cut back at least two thirds of a meter and all dug
out, and large coping slabs have been replaced where necessary. Now all tidy and ready for
the new tarmac, but it has been a very messy and noisy ten days, mostly through the nights!
And all for safety reasons at a closed station with no public access.

Danger Men At Work! Later on 20 October 2021
The contractors busy laying the new tarmac – almost a chain gang of men bringing in barrowloads
of hot tar put down in two layers. Just a shame that they didn't renew the whole platform surface.

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If you have any information or material relevant to the station we would love to hear from you (contact us).