The Chuley Road development site is mostly made up from small plots that used to form the terminus station of the Ashburton Branch Line. The site came out of railway use with the building of the A38 trunk road in the early 1970’s, which cut through the original trackbed at Dartbridge, Buckfastleigh and followed the original railway alignment up to Pear Tree Cross in Ashburton.
The station site was sold off, various parts have changed hands numerous times since then and small developments / buildings have been built in parts of what was once the station yard. The station building with its original trainshed now forms part of what is Station Garage, although adapted, the main parts of the original construction do still survive in reasonable repair.
The line was originally opened by the Buckfastleigh, Totnes and South Devon Railway Company on 1st May 1872, eventually being absorbed into the Great Western Railway in 1897. It quickly became a quintessential Great Western branch line and an important part of the local community, which is evident from the affectionate nickname given to the train – ‘Bulliver’. The railway was the centre of activity at Ashburton’s many Cattle Fairs and was an integral part of the town.
In its present state the site would not take too much to return to railway use, if the various plots were purchased as they became available it would be possible to recreate a heritage centre with the quintessential branch line terminus feel. We are aiming for it to be a valuable educational resource, helping children learn about the heritage of the area, the impact that railways had on the rural economy and the impact they had on society.
Whilst providing this valuable resource we would be raising funds to reinstate the line back to Buckfastleigh, working closely with the South Devon Railway.