Plus parts of the South Hams and West Devon

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: May 26, 2018
Webpage updated: May 26, 2018




The first Launceston Station was opened by the Launceston and South Devon Railway Company on July 1st 1865.  It was the northern terminus of the South Devon Railway Company's Launceston Branch, upon which it was 31 miles 64 chains from Tavistock Junction, near Plymouth, where it left the South Devon Railway Company's main line.   From 1876 the Branch was operated by the Great Western Railway Company but the line remained of broad-gauge until it was converted to standard-gauge in May 1892.  The Station, which was only a single platform, was provided with a Signal Box on the station platform, an Engine Shed and a Goods Shed.

On July 21st 1886 the first Launceston Station was joined on its southern side by a new one for the North Cornwall Railway Company.  This one was a through station of two platforms on the line between Halwill Junction in Devon and Wadebridge and Padstow in Cornwall, the line already of the standard-gauge.  The principle buildings were on the Down platform while the Signal Box was on the Up platform.  There were also an Engine Shed and a Goods Shed.

Some rationalization took place during the Great War and the London and South Western Railway Company's Signal Box, which was so very conveniently sited between the two Stations, was widened to take the lever frame controlling the Great Western Railway Company's Station.

At some date in the 1920s or 1930s both Launceston GWR and Launceston SR Stations were provided with a 45-feet diameter turntable each.

A facing connection between the Great Western Railway Company's Launceston Branch and the Southern Railway was brought in to use on September 22nd 1943.  This connection, similar to ones at Lydford Station and Saint Budeaux SR Station in Plymouth, were to enable wartime goods traffic to or from the Royal Dockyard at Devonport to be diverted over alternative routes if any of the lines were damaged or destroyed by enemy action.

Following the nationalization of the British railway network on January 1st 1948, the former GWR Launceston Station became Launceston North Station and the former SR one, Launceston South, on and as from June 18th 1951.

On and as from June 30th 1952 all Launceston Branch trains were diverted to the former Southern Railway Launceston Station and Launceston North Station was closed to passenger traffic.  It remained open for goods traffic until February 28th 1966.

The Launceston Branch was closed on and as from December 31st 1962.  However, the line between Launceston Station and Lifton Station was reopened as from September 8th 1964 to enable milk to be transported to the Ambrosia Dairy at Lifton.  The line was closed again on February 28th 1966, when goods facilities were withdrawn from Launceston Station.

Sadly, the former Southern Railway Company's line to Halwill Junction and Okehampton was axed on and as from October 3rd 1966 and the Town of Launceston was   left with no rail connections at all.