Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: May 17, 2017.
Webpage updated: May 17, 2017




The South Hams Railway Company planned to construct a line from Plympton through Yealmpton, Modbury and Kingsbridge to Dartmouth. intending to then link up with the Dartmouth and Torbay Railway and providing a route back through Paignton and Torquay to Newton Abbot.  The collapse of their bankers, Messrs Overend and Gurney, in May 1866 brought this proposal to an end but the proposal had been supported by the London and South Western Railway Company and after its failure they persuaded the Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway Company to obtain the legal power to build a line from Plymouth to Yealmpton and Modbury.

However, the Great Western Railway Company became worried about the prospect of competition from the LSWR and proposed to construct its own railway to Modbury.

As a result Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway (South Hams Extension) Act received the Royal Assent on June 28th 1888.

The bridge across the River Plym had already been completed in 1887 and the line as far as Pomphlett was ready by June 25th 1888 so the London and South Western Railway Company started to operate freight traffic over it.  The line was not officially opened until July 1st 1892 and public trains were still not allowed to use the line until Monday September 5th because of the need for signalling standards to be improved.  But this was legally a section of the LSWR Turnchapel Branch and did not carry any trains for the South Hams.

In the meantime, the dispute between the London and South Western Railway Company and Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway Company on the one hand and the Great Western Railway Company on the other 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 access their as yet unfinished Branch from Plymstock to Yealmpton.

This arrangement was formally agreed on July 19th 1894 and added as a schedule to the Great Western (Number Two) Act of August 17th 1894.

Thus the line became the Great Western Railway Yealmpton Branch.