The Moretonhampstead and South Devon Railway
was a broad gauge
railway which linked the South Devon Railway
at Newton Abbot railway station
with Bovey Tracey
History of the line
In 1861 the Moretonhampstead and South Devon Railway company was formed at the Globe Hotel in Exeter, and in 1862 the bill for making the railway was given Royal Assent
. Work on the line commenced in 1863 and the major earthworks (with cuttings and embankments, many still visible today) were complete. All the granite used for construction of the bridges was cut from Lustleigh Cleave. The line was 12 miles, 28 chains (20 km) long.
Following a Board of Trade inspection, the branch line opened to the public on 26 June 1866. A public holiday was observed, with people turning out to witness the first journey from to .
In 1892, the broad gauge
line was replaced by a standard gauge
format, taking only 32 hours and 60 men to complete - part of the wider conversion of the whole network.
The railway brought tourists to the area. Other users of the service were local industries: farmers' produce, nursery plants and blacksmiths' products were sent by train.
Traffic grew from 1860 to the 1930s and then went into decline. Despite a significant summer tourist trade, featuring in many contemporary guide books, traffic on the branch over the year was not enough to cover rising costs.
The station was... Read More