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New roof for the railway station that had no Trains !

ONE of Dartmouth’s most iconic buildings is getting a new roof.
Major work at the Station Restaurant will help preserve the grade II listed building that has been a feature on the Dartmouth waterfront for 150 years.
The roof of the building – believed to be the original, dating back to 1864 – has been leaking for some time, revealed owner John Holland.
But this weekend will see the building engulfed in scaffolding as work begins on removing the old slates and a new roof is fitted.
The project will also see the careful dismantling, cleaning and eventual reinstatement of the original decorative ironwork around the top of the former railway premises, that are still painted in the Great Western Railway colours.
The restaurant will remain closed for about eight weeks while the work is carried out.
In the meantime, it is hoped that customers will use its sister business, The Angel, just opposite.
‘We want to emphasise that everyone is welcome at The Angel where we will be serving morning coffees, lunches, afternoon teas and evening meals,’ said Mr Holland.
‘Most of the full-time staff are moving across with us and we have an upstairs for more formal dining.’
Mr Holland and his wife, Bessie – who was born in Dartmouth – bought the station premises in 1974.
Mrs Holland said she was very attached to the building that had survived bombings during the war years.
‘Mr Hitler flew over and hit the Butterwalk but missed us,’ she said.
‘It is something of a landmark on the river frontage and loved by a lot of people.’
Dartmouth railway station was opened in 1864 by the Dartmouth and Torbay Railway – although it was never actually served by trains.
Railway passengers had to alight at Kingswear station on the opposite bank of the river and catch the ferry across to Dartmouth station.
Despite many, frustrated, efforts to agree a bridge crossing over the River Dart, the railway was forced to terminate its line at Kingswear.
Dartmouth Station had a station master who was paid more than his colleague in Kingswear, because of the important traffic to HMS Britannia, now the Britannia Royal Naval College.
Passengers were ferried across the river and the floating landing stage on the Dartmouth side was 58 feet long, making it capable of handling substantial numbers of people. By the late 1880s a regular service ran from Kingswear to London Paddington increasing the regular passenger traffic and tourists.
During the 1960s passenger numbers began to decline as road transport began to increase.
In 1972 the Dart Valley Light Railway Company purchased the line from British Rail but the station at Dartmouth was closed.

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