Features: Oake, WR, 1950s-1960s
Published 25 September 2018, 16:59
Oake is a station on the Taunton to Barnstaple line, about half way between Norton Fitzwarren junction and Milverton on the section of double track and about five miles from Taunton.
Built in 1899 it was a later addition to the line when the villages of Oake and Hillcommon began to expand and local farm traffic picked up. It also served a small quarry near Preston Bowyer.
In 1931 the GWR uprated the line to double track between Norton Fitwarren and Milverton to help cope with the increased traffic into the West country and Oake received a second platform and a goods loop to allow pick-up freight trains to be kept clear of the main line whilst shunting.
It has a small goods yard with most outgoing goods consisting of cattle, farm produce and building stone. There are timber posts sent from here for use as support beams in the coal mines of South Wales. Incoming goods consist of general produce, farm machinery, fertiliser for farmland and coal.
With the closure of the line in 1966 the station fell into disrepair and the track bed was swallowed up by local farmland, although it can still be made out if you look carefully. The station and over bridge were pulled down in the 1980s and the stone used in local buildings. The area the station and goods yard occupied is now a playing field and entrance to a housing estate.
The layout began life some years back as part of a different layout but one that never got beyond basic track laying. In 2010 it was re-erected and with some minor modifications to the track plan, it took a change of region and started to become Oake.
It has taken several years to get to the stage you see here due to family, work and other life commitments of many of the members of the team, but through hard work and much determination we hope you like what you see today.
In reality Oake station never really existed. The double track section of the branch did pass between Oake and Hillcommon so isn’t beyond a little tweak of history that it might have been. If you look carefully at the recreation ground you can almost see where the station could have been and the left bridge is a copy of what was there.
The description here is in keeping with the other local stations and the history also falls in line with what really happened in the area.
As far as that the trains and stock running on the layout, they are as accurate as we can manage for the 1956-1966 period and are all based on some of the hundreds of photographs and other information we have amassed on the Devon and Somerset Railway over the years we have been building.
Oake featured in HM134.