Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 05, 2016.
Webpage updated: September 08, 2017

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Although the London and South Western Railway Company got their access to Devonport in 1876 and Plymouth in 1877, they still hankered after their own line rather than simply have running powers over the Great Western Railway.  So they supported and encouraged an independent company, the Plymouth, Devonport and South Western Junction Railway Company, which received legal powers through the Plymouth, Devonport and South Western Junction Railway Act 1883 to construct a double-track main line from a junction with the LSWR at Lydford to join the existing LSWR terminus at Devonport Station.

The first sod was cut on the afternoon of Tuesday March 29th 1887 at the northern end of Shillamill Tunnel.  Although Mr W W Szlumper, the resident engineer, and Mr Hart, the sub-contractor under Messrs Relf and Pethick, the principal contractors, were present, it was not revealed who actually performed the ceremony.  No members of the public were present just the navvies who were about to start the construction work. 

Stations were constructed at Mary Tavy and Blackdown, Tavistock, Beer Alston, Beer Ferris, Saint Budeaux for Saltash and Ford.  The viaducts in Tavistock and across the Lumburn were to be eighty feet and 100 feet high respectively while the Shillamill Tunnel would be 590 yards in length.  The line was officially opened on June 2nd 1890, after which trains ran into Devonport Station became a through station and trains ran as far as North Road Plymouth Station.  In 1891 the line from Lipson Junction on the Great Western Railway main line to Mount Gould Junction was opened and Friary Station followed on July 1st 1891.  Tamerton Foliot Station was added in 1898 and the LSWR started a suburban service between Friary and Saint Budeaux for Saltash Stations in 1906.

The Company continued to lease its line to the London and South Western Railway Company until that Company was absorbed by the Southern Railway Company on Monday January 1st 1923.  It remained running the branch line from Bere Alston Station to Callington Station using its own locomotives and rolling stock.