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Venn Cross Station on the Devon & Somerset Railway. Further to our photographic record of a walk from Dulverton to East Anstey (see Photo Gallery 56), we are now pleased to present some photographs of the privately owned former station at Venn Cross. Venn Cross was towards the Taunton end of the line and was the next station west of Wiveliscombe, being situated right on the county border with the main station buildings in Somerset, but the goods shed and the western end of the platforms in Devon. On Sunday 13th July 2014, the owners opened the station gardens for the day as part of the National Gardens Scheme. South Western members Dave Hurley and Ivor Sutton were both there … and, given that so many of their photographs were nearly identical, it's a surprise that they didn't bump into each other, quite literally.

Above: The modern owners of the station found most of the railway artefacts long gone, but have installed a number of features to restore a 'railway feel' to the place. While this replica running in board doesn't quite match the GWR style, it's a fair representation. 13th July 2014. (Ivor Sutton)

 
Above: The modern owners have installed replacement signals 'where they thought they ought to be' – a pragmatic approach without a degree in industrial archaeology. It is not difficult to see why this property is featured in the National Gardens Scheme. 13th July 2014. (Dave Hurley)
 
Left: This home starter signal, stull retaining the lenses in its spectacles, is about 2-3 feet lower than it would have been when in service. We presume that the railway's scrap contractor took an oxy-acetylene cutter to it, at ground level, thus requiring the new owners to bury part of the shaft in order to make the signal stable and safe as a garden ornament. 13th July 2014. (Dave Hurley)
 
Right: It can be seen that the fate which befell the home starter signal (above) has also befallen the distant signal. However, both spectacle lenses are still in place, as is the oil lamp and the steps leading to it – although we do not suppose that the lamp is kept alight any more. 13th July 2014. (Dave Hurley)
 
Above: A fine job has been made of converting the former goods shed at Venn Cross into a stylish self-contained residence on two floors; it is nice to see that the canopy on the right has been retained. These buildings are not easy to convert: they were constructed with a single skin outer wall, and their high interiors and tall windows make for some 'interesting' problems so far as installing a second floor is concerned. 13th July 2014. (Ivor Sutton)
 
Above: Immediately east of the station lies the 246 yard Venn Cross Tunnel, which has recently had security fencing installed by its new owners … possibly the Highways Agency, which assumed responsibility on 1st October 2013 for all the redundant railway property previously owned and managed by British Rail Board Residuary Ltd., or BRBR. 13th July 2014. (Ivor Sutton)
 
Above: The street side of the main station building. It's easily missed because it is set back from the local road, the B3227, which used to be the A361 before the North Devon Link Road was constructed and took that number for itself. Venn Cross is not the name of a community, but rather a cross roads; local houses, even today, are few and far between. There are no large communities nearby, at all. 13th July 2014. (Dave Hurley)
 
Above: A panoramic view of the railway side of the station, which was situated in a 666 ft. deep cutting just west of Venn Cross Tunnel – a feature which made it particularly prone to being blocked by snow during the winter. 13th July 2014. (Dave Hurley)
 
Above: The trackbed west of the station, looking towards Barnstaple. What makes this image rather poignant is the fact that the photographer used to travel over this line, to and from family holidays in Ilfracombe, when a young boy. Modern road improvements have claimed much of the Devon & Somerset's trackbed around Milverton and Wiveliscombe, and all of it between Barnstaple and South Molton. However, much of it survives between South Molton and Wiveliscombe, albeit now owned predominantly by local farmers. 13th July 2014. (Ivor Sutton)