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Exeter Central railway station is the smallest of Exetermarker's main railway stations, but is the most centrally located. It is situated on the London Waterloo-Exeter main line, and is also served by local services to Exmouthmarker, Paigntonmarker and Barnstaplemarker.


Exeter Central in 1969.
A station was opened at Exeter Queen Street on 19 July 1860, the terminus of the London and South Western Railway's line from London Waterloo stationmarker via Salisburymarker. On 1 February 1862 the line was continued through a short tunnel to the Bristol and Exeter Railway's station at Exeter St Davidsmarker – this passes under Queen Street and then descends a steep descent of 1 in 37 through the 184 yards of St Davids Tunnel.

The line eventually reached Plymouthmarker, Padstowmarker, Budemarker, and Ilfracombe. Queen Street station became an important passenger interchange and locomotive changing point, the locomotives being serviced at Exmouth Junctionmarker engine shed, on the east side of Exeter.

The station became an interchange in 1861 with the opening of a branch to Exmouthmarker, which left the main line about half a mile to the east at Exmouth Junctionmarker just east of BlackBoy tunnel. To the east the line was doubled as far as Broad Clystmarker in 1864 and throughout to Salisburymarker by July 1870.

The original station had just a single platform on the south side, with a large train shed covering this and the tracks. A second platform was added in 1874 and further extensions were added in 1925. It was fully rebuilt in the early 1930s and renamed "Exeter Central" on 1 July 1933.

Goods yards were provided both north of the platforms and also west of the Queen Street bridge. General goods traffic was withdrawn on 4 December 1967 but cement traffic continued to a terminal adjacent to the northern platform until January 1990. There were through lines between the platforms used for goods trains and shunting, but the last of these was removed in 1984. The signal box was closed on 6 May 1985 and controls transferred to a new power signal box at St Davids.

The station had become part of the Southern Railway in 1923 and then part of British Railways Southern Region in 1948. During the 1980s the station was repainted into the house colours of Network SouthEast, the most westerly station to receive them. In the 1990s the station was transferred to the Regional Railways sector of BR and was refurbished with a new ticket office, in the late 1990s the crumbling footbridge at the eastern end was replaced with a modern ramped design, this allowed the closure of the barrow crossing at the western end. The station was operated by Wessex Trains until 31 March 2006 when First Great Western took over franchise. It has been suggested in the local media that the station should be transferred to the holder of the South Western franchise


There are two through platforms and one east-facing bay in use. The station has two entrances, the main one being on Queen Street and a smaller unmanned entrance on New North Road. Wheelchair access is via the car park from Queen Street and the modern New North Road footbridge which was built with long ramps to the platforms.

First Great Western have announced that two new lifts are to be installed. [146786]

Although a busy station there are no automatic ticket barriers, but manual ticket checks take place on a daily basis.

Passenger volume

Exeter Central is the third busiest station in Devon, but handles around 1,000,000 fewer people than St Davids. Comparing the year from April 2007 to that which started in April 2002, passenger numbers increased by 29%.
  2002-03 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Entries 548,330 534,955 554,714 655,459 699,302
Exits 529,449 510,743 526,457 637,034 686,015
Interchanges unknown 20,142 26,646 26,423 25,886
Total 1,077,779 1,065,839 1,107,817 1,318,916 1,411,201
The statistics cover twelve month periods that start in April.


Exeter Central is served by trains on the West of England Main Line operated by South West Trains from London Waterloo stationmarker to Exeter St Davidsmarker, although many of them continue to Paigntonmarker or Plymouthmarker. Occasionally these trains are replaced by First Great Western trains at weekends when the route to London Paddington stationmarker is closed for engineering work, in which case most Waterloo trains turn back at Yeovil Junctionmarker where a connection is made between the two London services.

Local services are provided by First Great Western along the Avocet Line from Exmouthmarker to Exeter St Davids where they generally continue to either Paignton or Barnstaplemarker. On summer Sundays there are also trains to Okehamptonmarker in connection with the Dartmoor Sunday Rover network.


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