Plus parts of East Cornwall and West Devon

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: May 04, 2018
Webpage updated: May 04, 2018

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The valley of the river Tamar has always been closely associated with the Borough of Devonport.  Three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the Market Boats used to set off from Calstock with local farm and nursery produce for the Devonport Market.  And when the mines and quarries were opened up around Callington and Gunnislake it was to Devonport that they sent their minerals for despatch all over the world.  But the local roads were very poor and the transport of goods to the quays at Calstock very slow.  It would be very useful if someone would build a railway linking the mines and quarries to the river.

Thus in 1862 the Tamar, Kit Hill and Callington Railway Company Limited was formed under the Companies Act of 1862.  They were to raise capital of 60,000 in shares of 10 to acquire the quays, stores, engine works and incline plane belonging to the Tamar Coal, Manure and General Merchandise Company and link it all by means of a railway.  Although their prospectus was not published until January 1864, they actually cut the first sod of the railway at Kelly Quay, Calstock, on November 26th 1863.  Their Act of Parliament received the Royal Assent on July 29th 1864 and this reformed the Company but without the Limited liability and increased the authorised capital to 70,000.

A competing railway was authorised in 1865 between Callington and the Great Western Railway at Saltash.  This would have to be of broad-gauge, of course, while the Tamar, Kit Hill and Callington Railway had been authorised as a standard-gauge line so they obtained another Act of Parliament in 1866 granting permission to make their railway of mixed gauge.  Unfortunately there was a financial crisis in 1866 and neither of the two railways were completed.

In 1869 the plans were revived and the work done by the Tamar, Kit Hill and Callington Railway Company was taken over by a new undertaking, the Callington and Calstock Railway Company