21 Marland and Dawlish

Taking advantage of the summer Sundays-only trains, the scout caught the 1108 St. David’s to Okehampton on 14th July and headed north from there to Barnstaple, 40 miles.

On the N.D. & C.J. Light, which is now a path between Meeth and Torrington, he passed the entrance to the former North Devon Clays’ private siding at Marland, which anyone could be forgiven for missing.

The private siding diverged to the left. The scout’s bike is leaning against one of the very large concrete gate posts, covered in ivy. At this spot 37 years before, he had jumped down from the Class 31 sent to collect empty “Clayliner” trucks which were not to be loaded, the rail traffic having been lost; it had been decided not to use the air-braked bogie hoppers as these required special loading facilities.
Even less likely to be seen in passing are the rail posts which must once have carried a sign proclaiming “North Devon Clays” to train passengers.

16th July

At Dawlish, work has started on the new sea wall which will profoundly change King’s Walk.

One B.A.M. man is driving the swing shovel while five look on. The work, which is being done under the powers granted in the South Devon Railway Act, will be suspended for the school summer holiday.
It should be remembered that this wall is not the original and problems developed on the beach after it was built in 1902, the year Edward VII was crowned king, hence the name.
The wall was built without a wave return curve because of the sand cover. However, the wall being further out caused wave rebound to scour the sand, meaning that even a mild sea will throw up spray over the promenade and tracks at high tide. The wall was part of the doubling of the line between here and Parson’s Tunnel (incl.), completed in 1905.
The spring tide meant that when the scout got to Starcross for the ferry to Exmouth, the 1310 sailing was cancelled due to low water.
The publicity concerning the work on the wall is headed ‘The vital artery to the South West.’
Staff at Christow has other ideas about railway resilience in the West Country.

31st October: The sea showed what it thought of the “Rail Resilience Programme.”

Note: This was one of many visits made to the area during the course of the major works. Full coverage may be found in the “Campaigning” section.

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