Knapford is one of the main stations on the North Western Railway.
The present passenger station, Knapford Junction, is the third one built in the town, and was built in 1956 when the harbour development scheme was launched due to congestion at Tidmouth Docks. The station serves as the junction of the Main Line and Thomas' Branch Line. There is also a freight-only station at Knapford Harbour, where Percy went to sea after asking his trucks to push him past a warning board and where Bulstrode nearly drowned in a nasty accident with some stone trucks.
The harbour line from Elsbridge to Knapford was opened in 1885 and used horse-pulled wagons. In 1905, A. W. Dry and Co. extended the line to Tidmouth with a road-side tramway using "Coffee Pots" engines. Although the line was destroyed by a gale three years later, the "coffee-pot" engines remained, even after the formation of the North Western Railway.
In 1912, the Tidmouth, Knapford and Elsbridge Railway joined with the Wellsworth and Suddery Railway and a connecting line was built from Knapford to Crosby. When the North Western Railway opened, a bay platform was opened at Knapford for the line to Elsbridge.
The lead mines at Toryreck closed in 1930, but opportunities of stone traffic from Ffarquhar opened and the line to Elsbridge was extended. In 1956, the improvement scheme of the harbour at Knapford was started, the branch was rebuilt on an easier gradient and the stations were moved north of the river. The first line is now used for goods.
Knapford is useful as a harbour, but not ideal, which is why the Arlesburgh branch was reopened in 1966.
The Knapford station is the fourth one, built in the town in 1984. It has two platforms, a glass roof, and about eight trains a day.
Several maps show the main line terminating at the junction, though some books mention that the terminus is Tidmouth. What's more, Knapford appears to be the larger than Tidmouth, whereas the Reverend W. Awdry stated in The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways that it is smaller than Tidmouth.
The name comes from the parish of Knapwell, where the Reverend W. Awdry was vicar.
Knapford is the "big station" in the television series. It has a large canopy. The station has six tracks total, four being through tracks and two being terminal tracks. Knapford has a refreshment kiosk, the Engine Drivers locker room, M.C. BUNN and a bookstall. At one point, the bookstall was temporarily replaced by a toy shop. In the eighteenth season, the station is given a new track layout.