The Granite Way, 1. Industrial Archaeology and a Train Cemetery

Meldon quarry sits high on a hill between Okehampton and Lydford on the northern edge of Dartmoor. After nearly 100 years it closed in 2011 and has now become an industrial graveyard and a train cemetery. A footpath, The Granite way, also national cycle route 27 runs past it and on to Meldon viaduct from where the Meldon dam can be seen on a clear day and High Willhayes, the highest point on the moor is in the distance. The dam forms a stunning reservoir 900 feet above sea level. Today we walked the first section of the granite way to the viaduct and then scrambled down to the valley and along the banks of the River Okement. Climbing down was hard on the knees, but I was quite pleased to be able to climb back up without needing my inhaler!

The quarry was served by a trainline constructed for its workers and their families but fell into disuse when Mr Beeching made his cuts in the 1960’s. In the summer season the Dartmoor Railway company now provide a service as well as a café and visitor centre.

The train carriages appear to be relics of a more recent past. As any abandoned wreckage they have been grafitteed and their windows smashed. They look very sad, neglected and are rusting away.

For some of its route, the noise from the dual carriageway below intrudes on the bird song, but the walk has lovely views of the Devon countryside which I will post separately, and is well worthwhile.

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23 thoughts on “The Granite Way, 1. Industrial Archaeology and a Train Cemetery

    1. There is a lot of history there Christine. I find it fascinating that a railway line springs up to serve a quarry in the 1920’s and has such a short life. It runs a couple times a day on summer weekends but only a two mile trip for tourists. It must have been a huge undertaking to build high on a hill and then the valley to span.

  1. This area has beautiful landscapes, and I love the railroad bridge, but it saddens me to see the trains left to deteriorate over time. I would think they could be refurbished as shelters of some sort, or at the very least, storage facilities. The shipping containers that once littered our ports are now being used for housing in some very creative plans and combinations. It seems these trains could be revitalized as well. At the very least, they should be melted down, reusing the steel.

    1. I hope that they are used in some way, it may be too late for anything other than scrap. Shipping containers used for housing, that sounds interesting I’m all for finding ways to provide shelter and extend the life.

  2. Maybe I’m not getting it, but I wonder if some of the old train carshave been transformed in being a café and visitor centre.
    ‘In the summer season the Dartmoor Railway company now provide a service as well as a café and visitor centre.’

    Interesting stuff.

    1. Thankyou! Yes one or two have been made into a cafe but not the ones I have photographed. These sadly appear to be left to decay but perhaps they will be rescued and rebuilt in time, there are railway enthusiasts that do such things.

  3. What a stunning post once again Gilly! Love the photo’s and the history! You certainly made it come alive again. That graffiti on the trains do make them seem more colorful as well. 🙂 Thanks for sharing hon. 🙂 *hugs*

  4. These pictures are terrific, Gilly. I haven’t learned to do the slideshow thing yet, but you and Cobbies 69 have got it down pat. I’m going to start experimenting and see if I can get a handle on it. That’s the thing about technology. About the time you master one thing, something else comes along that you need to learn. But I’m not really complaining. I’m sure that helps keep us young. And I will have to say I feel very proud of myself once I master something brand new. Thanks for sharing the photos — and for stirring me to experiment again.

  5. These look like something you would see in a movie. You have an interesting array of phot’s. Your subject matter is so varied. The trains are all covered in graffitti like the ones in New York City except that the trains are in full use. Interesting post, Gilly.

    1. Thanks honey I just love it when something jumps out and says here I am take pictures of me! I don’t remember the trains being there when I went about 7b years ago. Or maybe my eyes were closed then!

  6. I like discovering these ‘time capsules’. It’s really interesting to wander places that have been left to ruin and decay. Great shots, sobering too but really interesting. 🙂

  7. Interesting batch of shots Gilly – You’ve got a class 205 diesel unit there (the coaches in front of the locos). You can see their 08 shunter behind, 08937, which carries the name Bluebell Mel and also class 47, 47701, Saint Andrew. There’s also the front carriage of a 4-TC unit and a couple
    of ex-virgin mkII coaches. Many of the carriages probably picked up the damage where they were stored prior to being bought by the railway for preservation. It will be a long job to restore everything – I’m guessing their priority will be the 4-TC set as that will provide a set of 4 coaches that their resident locomotives can haul.

    Hope I haven’t bored you too much!

  8. Fascinating, you are so knowledgeable! I can’t imagine them finding the money to restore them but may be wrong – hope so. They probably have a website if you want to know more.

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