Webpage created: June 02, 2017.
Webpage updated: June 02, 2017
RAILWAYS IN OLD PLYMOUTH | BRITISH RAILWAYS
The last of the branch lines to be opened in the Plymouth area was the one from Plymstock Station to Yealmpton Station, formally opened by the Great Western Railway Company on Monday January 15th 1898. Initially passenger trains ran to and from Plymouth Station at Millbay.
But as was often the case in railway construction, the stations were situated in inconvenient locations and during the late 1930s motor bus competition on the roads that actually passed through the towns and villages on the route soon took away the railway's customers. The Yealmpton Branch suffered badly from this problem and the last day of passenger operation on the Great Western Railway's Yealmpton Branch was Saturday October 4th 1947. There was no Sunday service.
On January 1st 1948 Britain's railways were nationalized and the Yealmpton Branch passed to British Railways' ownership as a freight-only line, with just one daily freight train.
The main line through Brixton Road Station was removed on March 14th 1952 leaving only the platform line in use.
Freight traffic was composed mainly of animal feed for the farmers and coal for the local residents but that dwindled as the motor vehicle took its strangle-hold and the freight traffic eventually ceased. The last freight and parcels traffic was accepted on Saturday February 27th 1960.
The last freight was mainly coal and around ten trucks were sent down the Branch each week towards the end. During the final couple of weeks that increased as the local coal merchants stocked up to save themselves having to drive into Plymouth to collect it. Some trucks of coal were still on their way to Yealmpton when closure came and a special train was arranged to take them through on Monday February 29th 1960, the official closuring date. A light engine and brake van was expected to run to Yealmpton to collect the empty wagons later in the week and that would then be it.
Until 18 months before a gang of five men had been employed on track maintenance but this was then reduced to three and after the closure was announced one man used to travel on a permanent way trolley ahead of any train to check the track.
The services of the station porter at Yealmpton were retained after closure to look after an agricultural store owned by a firm that had an agreement with British Railways. A railway road vehicle would be calling at Yealmpton on three days a week.
The last passenger train of all over the Yealmpton branch was run by the Plymouth Railway Circle on Saturday February 27th 1960, when 4549 hauled a rake of brake-vans.
Work on lifting the track started in November 1962 but the extremely bad weather of December 1962 and January 1963 delayed completion until mid-March 1963. Diesel shunter D2178 supplied the motive power for the demolition train. Only 11 chains of the original track were retained as part of the layout giving access to the new siding belonging to Messrs Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers Ltd.
With the Turnchapel Branch already closed, Plymstock Signal Box was closed as from May 1st 1963.