Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: June 02, 2017.
Webpage updated: June 02, 2017




The Great Western Railway Company's Yealmpton Branch had the most complicated history of all the lines in the Plymouth area.  It started life in the 1860s as the South Hams Railway and was intended to run from Plymouth to Dartmouth.  When that failed in 1866 the London and South Western Railway Company, one of its supporters, persuaded the dormant Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway Company to promote a line from Plymouth to Yealmpton and Modbury.  This was known as the Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway (South Hams Extension).

Finally, on July 19th 1894 the dispute between the London and South Western Railway Company and the Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway Company on the one hand and the Great Western Railway Company was resolved when the LSWR agreed to let the GWR have rights of access over their line from Cattewater Junction as far as Plymstock Station to enable them to gain access to their still unfinished line to Yealmpton.  This arrangement was added as a schedule to the Great Western (Number Two) Act of August 17th 1894 and the line was thus constructed as the Great Western Railway Company's Yealmpton Branch.  It was formally opened on Monday January 15th 1898.

But as was often the case in railway construction, the stations were situated in inconvenient locations and 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 line became the British Railways Yealmpton Branch as a freight-only line, with just one daily freight train.