TRAIN SETS FOR SALE

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The Independent Online
Oundle Station, described by John Betjeman as "one of the finest examples of domestic railway architecture in England", stands as a monument to the wealth and optimism of Britain's pioneering steam age. Built in 1845 by JW Livock, for the London to Birmingham Railway's Northampton to Peterborough line, it has the look of a Victorian Gothic country house with three limestone gables, oriel windows and magnificent Jacobean chimneys. Plaster roses and cupids adorn the 18ft-high ceilings.

Oundle was closed by rail rationalist Dr Richard Beeching in 1964, sold to an uncaring owner and left to rot until six years ago. Awarded a Grade II listing in 1987 the "Old Station House" was carefully restored by Paul and Brenda Branton. Features such as the inner staircase and the outer platform survive, but according to Brenda, Oundle is not "a twee reconstruction of a station." It is now for sale at £250,000 through agents Vergettes of Peterborough.

Gartly Station was closed by Beeching in 1968, but the Aberdeen to Inverness line it once served is still operational. The property has been used for "numerous purposes" but never yet as a house. Ripe for conversion, the brick and tile, single-storey station building boasts a wealth of original railway features including platform signage, ticket office and window hatch, wall-mounted clock, stained glass and decorative plasterwork. Agents Stewart & Watson of Fraserburgh are seeking offers over £25,000.

The Victorian "Tudor-Gothic" station house at Whimple, on the Exeter to Waterloo line, is for sale through Fulfords of Devon at £89,750. Handy for commuters (there are a dozen trains a day in each direction), the property is split into office and residential accommodation. The trains are modern and "very quiet", according to incumbent Chris Wit. BR recently refurbished the unmanned station facilities to offer - in the minimal style of 1990s rural stops - benches, a glazed shelter and a timetable board.

A Grade II listed signal box at Dawlish Station on the Devon coast section of the Paddington to Penzance line, is being offered to let by Railtrack. With access to the "up" platform and views of Torbay, the brick and weatherboard property is suitable, says Railtrack, for conversion into an office or studio. The rent is negotiable.

Another signal box is for sale in Shropshire, though this one is nowhere near a railway track or station - other than reconstruction in miniature. The property at Middlewood Railway, near Shrewsbury, is for sale privately, £145,000 o.n.o.) and includes a1920s house, six acres of land, half a mile of mini railway track (with fixtures), a 100-year-old signal box and a number of coach bodies - one of which was designated for Winston Churchill's private use during the war.

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