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Dartmouth railway station

Dartmouth railway station

Dartmouth railway station was a railway station that served Dartmouth in the English county of Devon but was never served by trains – only the Dartmouth Passenger Ferry from Kingswear railway station on the opposite bank of the River Dart.

History

The Dartmouth and Torbay Railway was frustrated in its efforts to build a line across the River Dart and so was forced to terminate its line on the east side of the river. A site near the floating bridge (a chain ferry) to Dartmouth was preferred but the site was too narrow and so it was extended into Kingswear.

A site on the quay in Dartmouth was obtained and an wide jetty provided to accommodate a ferry from Kingswear. An long pier was built out from the quay, and a 60 feet (18m) jetty linked this with a pontoon to which the ferry could moor. The jetty was hinged to the pier and so could raise and fall with the jetty as the tide went in and out. The pontoon was long and up to wide, and a hut was situated on it as a ticket office. The station opened with the railway on 16 August 1864.

The railway was leased to the South Devon Railway Company from 1 January 1866 and this in turn amalgamated with the Great Western Railway on 1 February 1876.

The town of Dartmouth instigated improvements to the waterfront in 1884, which saw a new embankment built north and south of the railway jetty, but the railway and town failed to agree on who was to pay to complete the new embankment at the site of the jetty and so a gap was left for five years. Eventually an agreement was reached and a new jetty provided. This was 13 feet 6 inches (4m) wide and 78 feet (24m) long, and connected to a new covered pontoon, by . A new station building was provided on the shore, on the north side of the jetty.

The station master at Dartmouth was paid more than his colleague at Kingswear due to the important traffic to HMS Britannia, the Dartmouth naval college.

The railway was closed on 28 October 1972, and Dartmouth station closed at the same time. The railway was immediately conveyed to the Dart Valley Railway which was already operating the railway from Totnes to Buckfastleigh railway station, as a heritage railway. It is currently operated by the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway who also operate a Kingswear to Dartmouth ferry, but not Dartmouth station which is now a café.

The site today

The building is now a restaurant. The Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway, a heritage line, still run trains from Paignton to Kingswear and operate a ferry across the River Dart, but does not use the former Dartmouth station.

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References

  • R.V.J.Butt, (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1 85260 508 1

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