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Then and Now
Devonshire Rambler Rail Tour
The Waterloo to Exeter main line is considered one of the great railway journeys. Running through the chalky Wiltshire countryside to Salisbury and through lush East Devon to Exeter, the line was know for it's winding route and steep gradients.
In the late 1960's the mainline was downgraded and large parts became single line with passing bays at places including Yeovil Junction. Axminster and Honiton. Perhaps the most famous train to travel this route was the Atlantic Coast Express.
In 1966 there were a number of steam hauled special trains to Exeter, each proclaiming to be 'the last'.
I traveled on one of these on Sunday 26 June 1966. The Devonshire Rambler was organised by the Southern Counties Touring Society and ran from Waterloo to Exeter Central, on to Westbury and back to Salisbury and Waterloo (via Southampton).
50 years later, on Sunday 26 June 2016, I retraced the journey from Woking through Salisbury to Exeter Central.
Published 13 September 2016
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