John Speller's Web Pages Plymouth, Devonport & South Western Junction Railway

John Speller's Web Pages - L&SWR
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In 1874 the London & South Western Railway's West of England main line reached Lydford from Okehampton, and was able to force the broad gauge South Devon Railway to lay in mixed gauge to enable the L&SWR to run trains from Lydford to Plymouth. This was only ever intended as a stop-gap measure, and on 25 August 1883 the nominally independent Plymouth, Devonport & South Western Junction Railway was promoted to build a new line from Lydford via Bere Alston and Devonport to Plymouth. The line opened on 2 June 1890, and was worked by the London & South Western Railway as part of its main line. Meanwhile, however, in 1894 the Plymouth, Devonport & South Western Junction Railway purchased the East Cornwall Mineral Railway. This was a 3 ft. 6 in. gauge mineral line running between Callington and Calstock, which had opened on 7 May 1872. The Plymouth, Devonport & South Western Junction Railway commenced re-gauging the line to 4 ft. 8 in. and had extended it eastward to join their main line at Bere Alston on 2 March 1908. Unlike the main line, which was run by the L&SWR, the PD&SWJR ran the Callington Branch itself, and its trains were smartly turned out with locomotives painted dark blue lined out in black and white. The PD&SWJR was taken over by the London & South Western Railway in 1922 in anticipation of the Grouping of 1923. The Callington Branch was closed beyond Gunnislake on 5 November 1966, and the main line was closed from Bere Alston to Lydford on 6 May 1968, so that only the Plymouth to Gunnislake section now remains, partly running over former Great Western lines at the Plymouth end. In 2014 Network Rail is proposing to rebuild the line between Bere Alston and Lydford as part of a scheme to provide an alternative line from Exeter to Plymouth , avoiding the Dawlish route which is prone to storm damage to the sea wall.
Map showing the location of the Plymouth, Devonport & South Western Junction Railway, which straddled the counties of Devon and Cornwall
Builder's photograph of 0-6-2T "Earl of Mount Edgcumbe," one of two locomotives built for the PD&SWJR by Hawthorn, Leslie & Co. in 1907
0-6-2T "Lord St. Levan" with a rake of ex-L&SWR five-compartment four wheelers in about 1910
Branch and mainline trains at Bere Alston in about 1910
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