Axminster railway station

Axminster National Rail
Place Axminster
Local authority East Devon
Coordinates 50°46′44″N 3°00′18″W / 50.779°N 3.005°W / 50.779; -3.005Coordinates: 50°46′44″N 3°00′18″W / 50.779°N 3.005°W / 50.779; -3.005
Grid reference SY292982
Station code AXM
Managed by South West Trains
Number of platforms 2
DfT category D
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2010/11 Increase 0.253 million
2011/12 Increase 0.281 million
2012/13 Increase 0.346 million
2013/14 Increase 0.356 million
2014/15 Increase 0.386 million
Original company London and South Western Railway
Post-grouping Southern Railway
1860 Opened
1903 Lyme Regis branch opened
1965 Lyme Regis branch closed
1967 Line singled
2009 Second platform reopened
National Rail – UK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Axminster from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal

Axminster railway station serves the town of Axminster in Devon, England. Opened by the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) in 1860, it is now served by South West Trains’s London Waterloo to Exeter St Davids services on the West of England Main Line . It is 144.5 miles (232.6 km) from Waterloo.


The station in the early years of the twentieth century.

The station was opened on 19 July 1860 when the LSWR opened its Exeter Extension from Yeovil Junction to Exeter Queen Street. The main offices and goods shed were situated on the east side of the line and a small engine shed was provided for the locomotive that was kept here to help trains up the 1 in 80 (1.25%) climb through Seaton Junction to Honiton. A signal box was provided in 1875, situated at the south end of the westbound platform.[1]

Services for many years featured both express trains between London Waterloo and Devon and Cornwall as well as local services between Salisbury or Yeovil and Exeter, but in 1903 Axminster became a junction when the Lyme Regis branch line was opened. A bay platform was built on the west side of the station but the branch climbed a 1 in 80 (1.25%) to cross the main line south of the station by a bridge. There was also a short 1 in 40 connection from the goods yard directly to the branch, but this was removed in 1915. The engine shed was demolished to make room for the new branch, but a new coal stage and water tank was built next to the bay platform. The lever frame in the signal box was extended in 1903 to accommodate the new line, but alterations three years later to accommodate full signalling on the branch required the building to be extended.[1]

In 1923 the LSWR became part of the Southern Railway during the Grouping of 1923. The platforms were lengthened in the 1930s to accommodate longer trains[2] and the new Axminster Carpets factory making Axminster carpets opened alongside the goods yard in 1937.[1]

On 1 January 1948 the Southern Railway was nationalised to become the Southern Region of British Railways. January 1963 saw the all the lines in the area transferred to the Western Region and this was soon followed by the Reshaping of British Railways report. On 29 November 1965 the Lyme Regis branch line was closed, although goods traffic had been withdrawn in 1960. On 11 June 1967 the main line was rationalised[1] – Axminster was now in the middle of a 15.26 miles (24.56 km) single track section between Chard Junction and Honiton.[3]

In the late 1980s the line found itself part of British Rail’s Network SouthEast sector, which invested in new Class 159 trains[1] and extended the platform southwards[2] to remove the need of passengers to pass beneath a narrow bridge to reach the 1930s extension at the north end of the site. The privatisation of British Rail a few years later saw the line and station franchised to South West Trains.

On 11 December 2009 a new 3-mile (4.8 km) loop was opened with Axminster at its centre. This allowed the previous sparse and irregular timetable[4] to be replaced with a regular hourly frequency; trains are timetabled to pass at Axminster.[5]Work had started in February 2009 on the £20 million project which included building a new platform on the site of the disused platform, installing a new footbridge, lifts and waiting shelter, strengthening seven bridges and 20 culverts, installing 12 new signals, replacing three miles of signal cables and modernising the signalling panel at Chard Junction signal box.[6]

The small building at the end of the main platform has been reopened as a cafe.

In December 2012 Rail Gourmet UK Ltd opened a small satellite service centre at Axminster station. An at seat catering service is provided from Axminster to Waterloo by on-board hosts based at Axminster on morning train services. The service centre also acts as a turn-around point for Salisbury based on-board hosts who operate services from here from late morning to early evening.


The station is situated on the western edge of the town centre. The main building was designed by the LSWR's architect Sir William Tite and Edward Clifton in mock gothic style.[7] An old parcels office next door now houses the station café.[2] Immediately south of the main building is the 2009-built footbridge which links the two platforms. Unusually for England, trains ran on the right so the main down platform was used by trains to London, and the new up platform on the opposite side was used by trains to Exeter. In late 2012, this was reversed with trains now running on the left.


A train to London Waterloo

South West Trains operate hourly services between London Waterloo and Exeter St Davids.[8] A limited number of workings in the early morning & evening also start or terminate here on weekdays.

Preceding station National Rail Following station
Crewkerne   South West Trains
West of England Main Line
Historical railways
Chard Junction
Line open, station closed
  British Rail
Western Region

West of England Main Line
  Seaton Junction
Line open, station closed
Disused railways
Terminus   British Rail
Western Region

Lyme Regis branch line
Line and station closed

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Phillips, Derek; Pryer, George (1997). The Salisbury to Exeter Line. Sparkford: Oxford Publishing Company. ISBN 0-86093-525-6.
  2. 1 2 3 Oakley, Mike (2007). Devon Railway Stations. Wimbourne: The Dovecote Press. ISBN 978-1-904349-55-6.
  3. Jacobs, Gerald (2005). Railway Track Diagrams Book 3: Western. Bradford-on-Avon: Trackmaps. ISBN 0-9549866-1-X.
  4. Table 160 National Rail timetable, May 2009
  5. Table 160 National Rail timetable, December 2009
  6. Network Rail press release
  7. Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget. The Buildings of England. Devon. Yale University Press. p. 143. ISBN 9780300095968.
  8. Table 160 National Rail timetable, May 2016

External links

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