In 1872 a new Bideford railway station was opened, coinciding with the extension of the line to Great Torrington. The position of the existing tracks ensured that this lay in East-the-Water.The Station Hotel, formerly in Barnstaple Street, relocated to Torrington Lane.
Whilst the railway carried clay and culm out, people now began to flood in, drawn to the area by Kingsley’s prose, and accommodated by the growth of his book’s namesake town. The majority no-doubt, having arrived in East-the-Water, were then conveyed across the bridge to swell western Bideford’s coffers, or for onward transit. With the advent of the railways, cheaper mass-produced goods began to flood into the area, out-competing the local lime-kilns and potteries. Thus, one-by-one, their fires were extinguished for good.
1872 also saw Bideford gain a waterworks, supplied by two reservoirs on Gammaton Moor.