Plus parts of the South Hams and West Devon

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: May 19, 2018
Webpage updated: January 29, 2022




The 12.43pm Plymouth to Tavistock South train is seen arriving
 at Bickleigh Station behind number 6438 on August 4th 1962.
the late Peter W Gray.

Before the South Devon and Tavistock Railway line could be opened to traffic, Bickleigh Station, which was built of timber, completely burnt to the ground within twenty minutes on the afternoon of either Friday May 13th or Friday May 20th 1859.  Apparently a plumber had allowed some lead he was boiling to fall on to some wood shavings, which ignited.  The fire quickly spread and the cost of the damage was estimated to be about 250.  The Station was described as being 'small'. 

Bickleigh Station, at 4 miles 09 chains mile post mileage from Tavistock Junction, was opened by the South Devon and Tavistock Railway Company on June 22nd 1859.  It was subsequently taken over by the South Devon Railway Company and then the Great Western Railway Company.

It became a stopping place for the London and South Western Railway Company's trains between 1876 and 1890, when they used the Launceston Branch from Lydford Station southwards to access Plymouth.

A serious accident was narrowly averted near Bickleigh Station on the evening of Sunday November 27th 1898 when the train from Launceston to Plymouth ran into a number of stones that had been placed on the rails.  Some were described as being 'of considerable weight'.  When the train arrived at Plymouth the damage to the locomotive was assessed as being a bent guard, a broken sand-pipe and damaged braking gear.  Two lads, 14-years-old Austin Parnell, and 11-years-old Alfred Ernest Cann, were charged at Roborough Police-court with placing stones on the Great Western Railway, near Bickleigh, and thus endangering the safety of passengers.  They both admitted the offence and were each sentenced to one month's imprisonment and four years in a Reformatory.

According to the Great Western Railway Company's official "Traffic Dealt with at Stations and Depots", published circa 1936, in the calendar year 1903 Bickleigh Station issued 10,331 railway tickets, dealt with 36 parcels and took in total income 1,094.  During the calendar year 1913 Bickleigh Station issued 12,794 railway tickets, dealt with 45 parcels and took in total receipts of 1,682.  The highest figures were reached during the calendar year 1923, when Bickleigh Station issued 12,304 railway tickets plus 100 season tickets, handled 31 parcels and took in total receipts of 12,304.  It was all downhill after that.  During the calendar year 1929 Bickleigh Station issued only 11,889 railway tickets plus only 37 season tickets, handled 51 parcels and took in total receipts of only 2,606.  Tickets issued at Shaugh Bridge Platform and from October 1928 at Clearbrook Halt were included in the figures at Bickleigh Station.   

On Weekdays and Sundays, 'where train service permits', commencing on May 1st 1953, the following cheap day return tickets, first and third class, were available from Bickleigh Station to: Devonport Albert Road, 3 shillings (s) 1st, 2s 3rd; Dousland, 1s 9d 1st, 1s 2d 3rd; Keyham, 3s 6d 1st, 2s 3d 3rd; Launceston, 9s 3d 1st, 6s 3d 3rd; Marsh Mills, 1s 5d 1st, 11d 3rd; Plymouth North Road Station, 2s 6d 1st, 1s 8d 3rd; Princetown, 4s 9d 1st, 3s 3d 3rd; Saint Budeaux Ferry Road, 3s 9d 1st, 2s 6d 3rd; Saltash, 4s 1st, 2s 9d 3rd; Tavistock South, 3s 1st, 2s 3rd; and Yelverton, 1s 5d 1st, 11d 3rd.

Bickleigh Station was closed to passenger and goods traffic on or as from December 31st 1962.