Webpage created: May 17, 2017.
Webpage updated: May 17, 2017
During the 1860s the Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway Company became aware of the atmosphere of competition between the broad-gauge Great Western Railway Company and the narrow-gauge London and South Western Railway Company in the Plymouth area. The latter had not yet actually arrived in the Town but they were well on their way. For some reason that has not yet been explained, the P&DRC either decided to or were encouraged to fall in with the LSWR rather than the GWR. Towards the end of 1874 the P&DRC Board resolved to lay plans for a connection between their line to Sutton Harbour and the LSWR's planned Friary Station and the official plans were deposited on November 30th 1874. The accompanying Act received the Royal Assent on July 19th 1875.
The lines authorised by the Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway (Plymouth Extensions) Act 1875 were: Railway No. 1 - 3 furlongs 7 chains long from the main line of the Plymouth and Dartmoor at a point 2¼ chains south of the southern face of the tunnel or archway carrying the Embankment Road from Plymouth to Laira Bridge over the railway and terminating on the Friary Branch of the Devon and Cornwall Railway; Railway No. 2 - from the termination of the railway on the quay in front of Prince Rock Row, 3 furlongs and 9 chains and terminating west of Catdown Lane (sic); Railway No. 3 - From the end of railway number 2 to Gibb's and Finch's quay, 1 furlong, 1 chain and 3 yards.
Railways 2 and 3 extended the line from the terminus outside Princerock Row, with its Robin Hood and Little John Beer House, through Princerock Quarry (sic) and Catdown Quarry (sic) to the western side of Catdown Lane (sic).
Although there is a reference to the contractor in Kendall's book, quoting from the minutes in April 1876, it would appear that the construction work did not actually begin until March 1879.
Sources differ as to exactly when the Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway Company's Cattewater Harbour Branch was formally transferred into the hands of the London and South Western Railway Company. George Kendall states that the agreement to do so was signed in August 1878 while Mr R A Williams quotes a later but more specific date of February 11th 1879. It was certainly considered to be the LSWR Cattewater Branch when it was opened in 1880.