John Speller's Web Pages Moretonhampstead (SDR)

John Speller's Web Pages - GWR Broad Gauge - SDR

Moretonhampstead Branch

Moretonhampstead & South Devon Railway

Moretonhampstead, on the edge of Dartmoor, was said to be "twelve miles from everywhere" -- or at least from Exeter, Newton Abbot, Okehampton and Princetown. The Moretonhampstead Branch ran from Newton Abbot to Moretonhampstead with intermediate stations at Teigngrace, Heathfield (originally Chudleigh Road), Bovey Tracey and Lustleigh. It was incorporated in 1863, engineered by P. J. Margary, the SDR Resident Engineer, and was completed by Thomas Brassey in 1866. There was a strong tourist industry at Chagford and the railway ran horse and later motor omnibuses from Moretonhampstead to enable people to sample the pleasures of Dartmoor. Several attempts were made to extend the railway from Moretonhampstead to Chagford and even Okehampton, but nothing came of any of these schemes. The line was converted from 7' 0" to 4' 8" gauge in May 1892. Thomas Hammett, GWR Divisional Engineer at Taunton, was responsible for converting the Exeter to Kingwear section including the Moretonhampstead Branch.
Moretonhampstead, terminus of the Moretonhampstead & South Devon Railway, showing broad gauge South Devon Railway carriages standing in the trainshed. To enlarge right click and select "view image"
Several "Hawthorns" were rebuilt as 2-4-0STs in 1877 for use on South Devon branches. "Cerberus" is shown here at Brixham. "Penn" was shedded at Moretonhampstead in 1890. Photograph by W. M. Spriggs. To enlarge right click and select "view image"
The famous combined engine shed and signalbox at Moretonhampstead
Bovey Tracey on the Moretonhampstead & South Devon Railway. The track is narrow gauge, but the photograph was probably taken within months of the abolition of the broad gauge since the goods shed still has its broad gauge opening
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