Plus parts of East Cornwall and West Devon

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: May 04, 2018
Webpage updated: March 31, 2019

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So after a delay of over 8 years from the cutting of the first sod by the Tamar, Kit Hill and Callington Railway Company, and the Royal Assent being given to the East Cornwall Mineral Railway (Deviation) Act on May 25th 1871, which changed the name of the Railway, a Local and District News announcement in "The Tavistock Gazette" on Friday May 10th 1872, under the heading of "The East Cornwall Mineral Railway", declared that 'This railway was formally opened for traffic, on Tuesday [May 7th 1872], but without any ceremony.'

Although horses were used on the Quay, the Company purchased two steam locomotives for power on the upper section.  The incline was operated with a 14 horse power stationary engine.

On August 15th 1876 the East Cornwall  Mineral Railway Act 1876 received the Royal Assent.  This authorised the raising of the capital limit to 200,00 for construction of a new line 7 miles 1 furlong 1 chain in length to connect the top of the incline to the South Devon and Tavistock Railway at Tavistock and a branch line of 1 mile 1 furlong 8 chains from Goaten Farm to Morwellham Quay, all, along with the existing line, to be of standard gauge.  The Act further authorised passengers to be carried, the existing speed restriction of 16 miles per hour to be abolished, and the Company to make an running agreement with the London and South Western Railway Company.  Unfortunately the Company was unable to raise the capital and a new Act was given the Royal Assent on July 3rd 1879 which repealed the 1876 Act in its entirety.

Two further schemes for railways in the area were proposed by the Devon and Cornwall Central Railway Company and the Tavistock and Gunnislake Railway Company but even though the first-named won Parliamentary approval, it was unable to raise the capital and neither plan came about.  It was the third scheme, devised by the Plymouth, Devonport and South Western Junction Railway Company, who proposed to link the East Cornwall Mineral Railway at Calstock to their new main line between Lydford and Devonport by means of a viaduct across the river Tamar.  Their first Act of Parliament received the Royal Assent on August 25th 1883 and a second Act, which included a clause forcing the Company to purchase the ECMR within one year of opening their main line, received its Royal Assent on August 7th 1884.  A third Act, on July 19th 1887, confirmed these arrangements and the purchase price of 62,500 to be paid as 48,250 in ordinary PS&SWJR shares and 21,500 in cash.  The main line was opened in 1890 and the ECMR was purchased on June 1st 1891, although the transaction was not completed until January 4th 1894.