James May's Toy Stories prompts railway renaissance

THE airing of James May s Toy Stories at Christmas following his visit to North Devon has prompted renewed enthusiasm for re-opening the railway from Barnstaple to Bideford. That is the opinion of local rail buffs after millions watched James attempts to

THE airing of James May's Toy Stories at Christmas following his visit to North Devon has prompted renewed enthusiasm for re-opening the railway from Barnstaple to Bideford.

That is the opinion of local rail buffs after millions watched James' attempts to recreate the entire line between the two towns using "00 Gauge" model railway track and trains.

He finally had to admit defeat a few short miles from his goal, as the rigours of outdoor use overcame his miniature scale models, but according to those at Bideford Railway Heritage Centre the attempt has renewed interest in re-opening the original line.

"It has gripped the public's imagination and people have now realised that Dr Beeching's decision in the 1960's was wrong - we really do want it back!" said spokesman Lewis Andrews.


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"Meanwhile the Tarka Trail Store in Bideford reported a surge of interest in Hornby models following the television programme and sales have been four-fold the usual demand.

The Bideford Railway Heritage Centre will be hosting a social evening and talk at on Thursday (February 4) at 7.30pm at the Bideford Arts Centre, where the focus will - temporarily - shift to the old Ilfracombe Line.

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