Plus parts of the South Hams and West Devon

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: April 08, 2018
Webpage updated: January 21, 2022




Cornwood Station was recorded in 1955 as being 237 miles 48 chains milepost mileage from London Paddington Station via Bristol Temple Meads.  The ruling gradient approaching Cornwood Station was 1 in 129 falling and the line continued towards Hemerdon Siding Signal Box at 1 in 150 falling.

The South Devon Railway between Totnes Station and Laira Green Temporary Station on the outskirts of Plymouth was officially opened to both passenger and goods traffic on May 5th 1848.  It was single line as far as Hemerdon Junction.

Cornwood Station looking west towards Plympton.
  Western Morning News.

Sandwiched between two viaducts, the original Cornwood Road Station was really a private siding built by the railway's contractor, Mr George Hennet, and opened for goods traffic in 1852.  A small platform was also constructed by Mr Hennet, with one building accommodating a Booking Office, Waiting Room and rooms on the first floor for the person looking after the Station.  It was authorised by the South Devon Railway Company in August 1851 and built on their land at a cost of 1,570.  After the free first year Mr Hennet had to pay 1 annually for ground rent.  The South Devon Railway Company purchased the Station and siding in January 1857.  It was renamed simply Cornwood Station in April 1864.

Until the line was doubled the Station consisted of a single platform on the Up side with a trailing connection, in the Down direction towards Plymouth, behind it.  The Ordnance Survey map of 1854 to 1863 shows no building that could have been a signal box.

In preparation for the conversion from broad gauge to standard gauge, a temporary siding was installed on the south side of the single main line.  This was in place by February 9th 1891 and and was controlled by the first Cornwood Signal Box inspected by the Board of Trade on March 31st 1891.

At the same time as the gauge conversion, the main line was doubled to a point just to the west of the Station, which now had both Down and Up platforms, much longer than the old one was.  This required a new Cornwood Signal Box, which was placed at the eastern end of the Up platform, 237 miles 44 chains milepost mileage from London Paddington Station via Bristol Temple Meads Station.

According to the Great Western Railway Company's official "Traffic Dealt with at Stations and Depots", published circa 1936, in the calendar year 1903 Cornwood Station issued 16,877 railway tickets, dealt with 74 parcels and took in total income 2,358.

During the calendar year 1913 Cornwood Station issued 17,199 railway tickets, handled 103 parcels, and took in total income 4,039.  As with other Plymouth district stations the best year between 1903 and 1935 was 1923 when Cornwood Station issued 18,300 railway tickets plus 72 season tickets, dealt with 133 parcels and took in total income 7,142.

According to the Great Western Railway Company's official "Traffic Dealt with at Stations and Depots", published circa 1936, in the calendar year 1929 Cornwood Station issued 14,516 railway tickets plus 81 season tickets, dealt with 135 parcels, and took in passenger receipts a total of 5,798.99,601 railway tickets, dealt with 415 parcels and took in total income 7,931.

From May 1932 the accounting for Cornwood Station was handled by staff at Ivybridge 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 Cornwood Station to: Brent, 2 shillings (s) 9 pence (d) 1st, 1s 9d 3rd; Kingsbridge, 7s 1st, 4s 9d 3rd; Newton Abbot, 8s 1st, 5s 3d 3rd; Plymouth North Road Station, 3s 1st, 2s 3rd; Plympton, 1s 9d 1st, 1s 2d 3rd; Teignmouth, 9s 9d 1st, 6s 6d 3rd; Torquay, 10s 1st, 6s 9d 3rd; and Totnes, 5s 3d 1st, 3s 6d 3rd.

According to the "The Official Hand-book of Station 1956" Cornwood Station dealt with goods traffic, passengers, parcels, miscellaneous traffic.  It was not equipped with a crane.

Cornwood Station was closed to both passenger and goods traffic on or as from March 2nd 1959.

The Up Refuge Loop was removed on July 8th 1962 and the crossover and Ground Frame were taken out of use when Cornwood Signal Box was closed in 1963.


  With grateful acknowledgement to the late Mr Laurence 'Larry' William Crosier (1929-2010) of the Great Western Railway Company (1943-1947);
British Railways (1948-c1994); the Plymouth Railway Circle, the Lee Moor Tramway Preservation Society, and the Signalling Record Society.