Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Buckfastleigh, Totnes and South Devon Railway

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1966. Buckfastleigh Station.

The Buckfastleigh, Totnes and South Devon Railway built the broad gauge railway line from Totnes to Buckfastleigh and Ashburton in Devon.

The company gained its Act of Parliament in 1864, and a second Act in 1865 allowed for an extension to Ashburton. Construction was a protracted affair, the line finally opening on 1 May 1872. It was worked from the outset by the larger South Devon Railway until 1 February 1876 when this was amalgamated into the Great Western Railway, who continued to operate the line.

The Buckfastleigh company was amalgamated into the Great Western Railway in 1897.

The line closed to passengers in November 1958 but goods traffic continued until 7 September 1962.

It was re-opened as the Dart Valley Railway, a heritage railway, on 5 April 1969, the opening ceremony being performed by Dr Richard Beeching.

In 1971 the line beyond Buckfastleigh was again closed and the A38 road was built on the route of the railway.

The South Devon Railway Trust took over the running of the line on 1 January 1991.

The stations on the line are Ashburton, Buckfastleigh, Staverton and Totnes

An extension from Totnes station to the Steamer Quay in the town centre was opened for goods traffic only on 10 November 1873. This section was closed in 1965.

Since becoming a heritage railway, a new Totnes (Littlehempston) railway station has been opened to avoid the need for trains to run into the Network Rail station. A footbridge over the river links the two stations.


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