|The area around Langstone Rock, just west of Dawlish Warren, provides some superb photographic locations and views of the line in both directions. Rounding the curve on the down line on August 4, 2001 the 09.15 Cardiff-Paignton is formed of four different liveried 'Bubble' cars Nos. 153380 in Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership black, 153353 in Central Wales orange, 153373 in Wessex Line maroon and 153327 in original Regional Railways blue/grey. CJM.||Throughout the second half of 2001, First Great Western used Porterbrook owned and liveried Class 57 No. 57601 for trial operation on the Plymouth-Paddington route. In the summer its booked duty was the 09.20 Plymouth-Paddington and 15.42 return to Exeter. The up working is seen on June 12, 2001 rounding the curve at Langstone Rock. In the background the town of Dawlish can be seen. A footpath exists alongside the railway all the way from Dawlish to Dawlish Warren offering superb views of the railway line. CJM.|
The station at Dawlish Warren still
retains loop lines on both up and down sides, most main line services use
the two middle through lines, while stopping trains use the loop tracks.
Sometimes the loops are used to sideline slow trains while expresses overtake.
The original platform buildings still remain on the up side but are now
a private house. Very limited platform facilities exist on either platform.
Photography is quite possible from both platform; the down platform is better
for light in the morning, while the up platform is better for afternoon
From Dawlish Warren station a footpath and narrow roadway pass under the line, and by turning right the start of the sea wall footpath is soon reached, this extends through to Dawlish. A few yards west of Dawlish Warren station, just after the loop tracks finish, a footbridge crosses the line and gives another good photographic viewpoint of the route. Adjacent to this footbridge are some camping coaches, former BR Mk 1 and Inspection Saloons which are operated by a private company offering summer accommodation.
By continuing west (on foot), the famous Langstone Rock is soon reached and this is the source of a virtually endless selection of viewpoints from which to see the line. In terms of light, morning views are best (if the sun is out), with good light to around noon. Many ground level views are possible as well as elevated ones reached by climbing up the side of the rock. Some very rough steps do exist to the top, which does provide an amazing view of the entire area. But be warned these steps are tricky and can be very dangerous in damp or wet conditions. From Langstone Rock looking west a superb view of the line towards Dawlish can be obtained and with various lenses a large selection of different views can be taken. Looking back towards Dawlish Warren, again different lenses give endless view changes, all of which will be pleasing. During the summer months, if one becomes in need of a drink or something light to eat, the Red Rock café is located at the base of the rock. The owners are very railway friendly and will welcome your company.
Progressing on towards Dawlish, the sea wall still provides limitless views of the line, up train views are especially good in this area, while down trains tend to be a little too close. About mid-way between Dawlish Warren and Dawlish is a footbridge known as Rockstone Bridge, this obtained its name from a large public house which once stood adjacent to the bridge where some luxury flats now stand. The Rockstone Bridge is a favourite with local photographers and gives one of the best views of an up train on the
entire sea wall. Down views are also good, but perhaps a little cramped
and a track sign in the foreground does little to enhance the view.
The sea wall walkway continues to Dawlish, with a lower section that often gets flooded at high tide. From the Rockstone Bridge, access to the main road is possible and by turning left one can walk into the town. By continuing along the sea wall another footbridge is found just before the station area, which provides excellent views of Dawlish station, however, some lineside clutter does spoil this view. For photography of a down train from this location a larger lens is needed to get past a lineside building. For those who need refreshment on reaching this point, The Coastguards Restaurant, adjacent to the bridge, is of excellent quality and a frequent haunt for local enthusiasts.
Dawlish station, with its main entrance and buildings on the up side, provides a good vantage point for watching trains, but please be very careful, fast trains do pass through with little warning. Photography from the down platform of trains approaching the station, or passing the remains of the original GW signal box are good in the morning. After the sun has moved around, the up platform provides a good vantage point for afternoon views.
West from Dawlish station towards the first of the tunnels it is possible to walk on either side of the railway, both sides offer good views and at the right time of the day photography is easy. On the land side just after the station can be found The Marine Tavern & Hotel, which offers excellent food and drink as well as accommodation (See the Marine Tavern & Hotel page) Just before the first of the tunnels named Kennaway, which is 209 yards long, is a footbridge, this provides excellent views of the sea wall towards Dawlish Warren from early morning until early afternoon.
On the right hand side of the tunnel, a footpath climbs up the side of Lea Mount, and several footpaths that criss-cross this hill provide a wide and varied selection of views of down trains. By selecting different lenses and changing the photographic position one could spend several days in this area alone. From the top of this hill views of the line from both sides are possible as the light moves around. Views of up trains in this area are difficult, the best one can do is to either follow the track level footpath west past the tunnel on the sea side, at the end of this walkway a view of trains is possible emerging from Coryton Tunnel. If one feels energetic and
climbs Lea Mount hill, from the far end of the park area at the top, views
of trains skirting the sandstone hills are possible and with a big lens
the local landmark of The Parson and Clerk can be included.
From this point until the western portal of Parsons Tunnel the line is not easily accessible. However, by either walking or driving out of Dawlish towards Teignmouth on the A379 and parking in Old Teignmouth Road, opposite a road called John Nash Drive, one can gain access via a public footpath over fields to give a view of trains emerging from Clerk Tunnel. To find this point, after parking in the dead-end section of Old Teignmouth Road, walk slightly west until you find a stile on the left side, cross this and proceed along the footpath until its lowest point, you will then see the railway on the left, views can be obtained from several spots in this area.
Going further west towards Teignmouth, the next point where access can be made to the line is from Holcombe, where Smugglers Lane diverges left and provides entry to the coastal footpath by the western portal of Parsons Tunnel. The footpath proceeds from here through to Teignmouth and again provides some uninterrupted views of the line. Where the footpath starts, views of trains emerging from the 512 yard long Parsons Tunnel are easily possible, while a look the other way gives a nice panoramic view of the bay. Mid-way between Parsons Tunnel and Teignmouth a small landmass sticking out into the sea and known as Sprey Point gives an improved angle to views of both up and down trains, this is especially good early in the morning, when up trains are well lit and can include the local St Michael's church in the picture.
Just before the line curves away from the sea and into Teignmouth station, some small rocks provide a good viewpoint on which to stand to capture down trains, while a view standing on the sea wall gives an excellent aspect of trains rounding the tight curve and passing under a skew bridge.
Teignmouth station is not that photogenic, but is worth a look at. The main buildings are on the down side and much of the station fabric is of GW origin. Due to considerable town development some bridges which cross the line just west of Teignmouth station are now of little use.
site is maintained by TheRailwayCentre.Com and authored by Colin J Marsden,
it is a guide to the world famous
section of line between Exeter and Newton Abbot, traversing the Dawlish Sea Wall.
The author can be contacted at SeaWall@TheRailwayCentre.Com