Exeter Central (Station code EXC)

Exeter Central is the third busiest station in Devon, despite having only one main line service serving stations to Waterloo. Its popularity is explained in part by the fact that it is, as its name implies, central, and in part by the fact that it is served by three picturesque local services which are popular both with commuters and tourists: the Avocet line to Exmouth (www.avocetline.org.uk); the Riviera line, which divides at Newton Abbot with one branch going to Paignton and the other via Totnes to Plymouth; and, of course, the Tarka line to Barnstaple.

Originally known as Queen Street, the station opened in 1860 when the London and South Western Railway extended its line from Yeovil Junction to Exeter, making it the terminus of its services to Waterloo. A service to Exmouth followed in 1861, and in the following year the short link to Exeter St David’s down a steep descent was opened making it possible for the L&SWR to connect with the Exeter and Crediton Railway and later develop routes towards the west via Okehampton.

The original station had a single platform, and a second platform together with a train shed was not added until 1874. After a serious fire in 1927, it was rebuilt between 1931 and 1933, when it acquired its present name of Exeter Central. The long crescent shaped building on Queen Street, which was part of the redevelopment, houses the main entrance as well as a variety of shops. In front of it there is short stay parking, and as well there is parking for 50 cars. Facilities include toilets, and importantly, since the station is below street level, lifts. Though there are no refreshments there are a number of cafes near the main entrance.

Most of Exeter’s central shops and attractions are within easy reach of the station; a left turn and a short walk brings you to the High Street, the Guildhall and Princesshay shopping centres as well as the Cathedral (www.exeter-cathedral.org.uk ).

For a more comprehensive list of attractions and events in the city go to ExeterViews  and also Exeter City Council’s What’s On page ; Exeter memories is a rich source of historical information.

If you are going to the main bus station, or to either the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital the  the stop for service H which will take you there is outside the main entrance, timetable available here. Most local bus services stop in the High Street.
   Exeter Queen Street before 1927 (© Exeter Memories)                Exeter Central Queen Street entrance
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