|From "The Blizzard in the West" published in 1891:
"The railway authorities were very active and gangs of men were sent up from Exeter to clear the lines, but they could do little more than keep the points clear for shunting, watch the signals, and fix detonators where required, the driving snow being so blinding, and the coldness of the bitter wind so intense.
The difficulties of the neighbourhood commenced on Monday evening (9 March) at the Whiteball Tunnel, when the pilot engine, in front of the express, got off the line. Daylight came before a gang of packers sent from Taunton could effect a clearance, and instead of passing at ten o'clock on Monday night, the express only struggled into Tiverton Junction, with two engines attached, at half-past six on Tuesday morning. The Night Mail followed some hours after and managed to get through to Exeter, but after that, until Wednesday morning at eleven o'clock, no train could leave the junction.
After being snowed up for some hours at Burlescombe, the first part of the newspaper train reached Tiverton at half-past ten on Tuesday night. The train was stopped at the homes signal, and so intense was the cold that the machinery was, in a few minutes, frozen, and the train could not enter the station.
The ladies - mostly for Plymouth - who were in the train, were carried on chairs by porters and packers to the adjacent Railway Hotel, where they, and some of the male passengers, were able to obtain beds for the night. The train remained in the same position until Wednesday morning. In a siding also stood a slow train which should have reached Tiverton on Tuesday at ten in the morning but which did not get there until the afternoon. The passengers by this train were were transferred to the first down train that was got out from Tiverton on Wednesday.
The second part of the newspaper train remained at Burlescombe all Monday night. The store of provisions in the hamlet was already exhausted, and although as much as a guinea* was offered for a bed by some of the passengers, neither food nor sleeping accommodation could be obtained. A very uncomfortable night was passed in consequence, and many of the ladies suffered severely from hunger and exposure."