Plus parts of the South Hams and West Devon

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




The South Devon Railway Company's Plympton Railway Station.

The South Devon Railway Company's Plympton Railway Station.
Courtesy Steve Johnson/Cyberheritage.

Plympton Station was recorded in 1955 as being 241 miles 75 chains milepost mileage from London Paddington Station via Bristol Temple Meads.  The ruling gradient on the approach to Plympton Station was 1 in 41 falling (Hemerdon Bank) but levelled out to 1 in 81 falling towards Tavistock Junction Signal Box.

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 double line from Hemerdon Junction in to Plymouth.

Plympton Station in the early 1950s, looking towards Hemerdon,
with the Plympton Down Starter and Tavistock Junction Outer Distant on the Up platform
 to enable it to be seen early by trains speeding down the Hemerdon Bank.
From the author's collection.

What was originally known as Colebrook Station was opened by the South Devon Railway Company on June 15th 1848.  It is not known if there was a Signal Box at that time.

In 1903 there were complaints in the local press about the lack of a train from Plympton into Plymouth between 7 and 7.30 in the morning.  "Another Plympton Working Man" complained that a train that made up the 7.15am from Plymouth to Cornwall 'rushes past my house at 6.40am, while I have to leave by six o'clock per Shank's pony to catch the train'.  At that time he would have had to walk all the way from Plympton into either Mutley Station, North Road Plymouth Station or Plymouth Station (Millbay).

Plympton Station looking towards Hemerdon Bank.
Plympton Signal Box is clearly visible on the Down platform.
  Western Morning News Company Limited.

According to the Great Western Railway Company's official "Traffic Dealt with at Stations and Depots", published circa 1936, in the calendar year 1903 Plympton Station issued 99,601 railway tickets, dealt with 415 parcels and took in passenger income 7,931.

During the calendar year 1913 Plympton station issued 171,399 railway tickets, dealt with 356 parcels and took in passenger income of 10,081.  The calendar year 1923 saw Plympton Station issue 216,037 railway tickets plus 981 season tickets.  It handled 811 parcels and took in passenger receipts of 16,882.  As with other Plymouth district stations these were the highest figures for the whole period between 1903 and 1935. 

According to the Great Western Railway Company's official "Traffic Dealt with at Stations and Depots", published circa 1936, in the calendar year 1929 Plympton Station issued 34,060 railway tickets plus 147 season tickets, dealt with 833 parcels and took in passenger income 13,927.

In British Railways days there was a speed limit of 60mph from mile post 241, just prior to passing through Plympton 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 Plympton Station to: Bittaford Platform, 3s 1st, 2s 3rd; Brent, 4 shillings (s) 6 pence (d) 1st, 3s 3rd; Cornwood, 1s 9d 1st, 1s 2d 3rd; Ivybridge, 2s 6d 1st, 1s 8d 3rd; Kingsbridge, 8s 3d 1st, 5s 6d 3rd; Newton Abbot, 9s 3d 1st, 6s 3d 3rd; Totnes, 6s 9d 1st, 4s 6d 3rd; and Wranagton, 3s 9d 1st, 2s 6d 3rd.

According to the "The Official Hand-book of Station 1956" Plympton Station dealt with goods traffic, passengers, parcels, miscellaneous traffic, furniture vans, carriages, motor cars, portable engines and machines on wheels, live stock, horse boxes, prize cattle vans, and carriages and motor cars by passenger or parcels trains.  It was not equipped with a crane.

Plympton Station closed to passenger traffic on or as from March 3rd 1959 and to goods traffic on or as from June 1st 1964 although Plympton Signal Box remained in use.


  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.