Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 03, 2016
Webpage updated: June 22, 2020

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On Tuesday February 1st 1876 the Great Western Railway Company took over both the South Devon Railway Company and Cornwall Railway Company and gradually their locomotives and rolling stock replaced those of the South Devon Company that had worked trains to Cornwall.  North Road Plymouth Station was opened in 1877 enabling the running of through trains without having to call and reverse at Plymouth Station (Millbay).  The GWR converted its lines from Broad to Narrow Gauge in 1892.

Keyham Station, with a small goods yard, was opened in 1900.  The line from Devonport Station to the Royal Albert Bridge was gradually doubled and the viaducts enlarged to take the double track.  The Saltash Suburban Service was started in 1904 and new stopping places were erected, Wingfield Villas Halt, Ford Platform and Saint Budeaux Platform.  In 1905 Dockyard Halt and Defiance Platform were added.

In order to ease the gradients and sharp curves on the original main line the Great Western Railway Company set about making a deviation between Wearde and Saint Germans.  The new line, authorised by the Great Western Railway Act 1903, reduced the steepest gradient from 1 in 75 down to 1 in 200 and eased the sharpest curve from 24 chains radius to 30 chains.  It did, however, require the construction of Shillingham Tunnel.  The ruling gradient was reduced from 1 in 62 to 1 in 120.  The first train to use the new route was the 11.16am from Saint Germans Station to Plymouth on Sunday March 22nd 1908.  Goods traffic began the following day.  A new Defiance Platform was opened at the same time.

The Bull Point Ordnance Depot was linked to the main line in 1916.

Competition from the electric tramways forced the closure of Wingfield Villas Halt in 1921.  The Great Western Railway was unaffected by the Railway Grouping of 1923.  When HMS "Defiance" closed down in 1929 Defiance Halt was no longer justified and was closed the following year.  A link between the Great Western Railway and Southern Railway at Saint Budeaux was installed in 1941 to help the wartime traffic but later that year Ford Halt and Plymouth Station (Millbay) were closed because of war damage and the Company lost their locomotive "Bowden Hall" to a bomb outside Keyham Station Signal Box.

From Thursday January 1st 1948 the entire British railway network was nationalized as British Railways, of which the GWR formed the Western Region.

SEE Great Western Railway Company, Train Headcodes [within Old Plymouth.UK].

Click on the following links for more information about the Engines Sheds, Goods Depots and Yards, Ground Frames, Halts, Junctions, Platforms, Sidings, Signal Boxes, Signalling, Stations, Tunnels, and Viaducts -