The South Devon Railway

was first proposed in 1837 but was not authorised by an Act of Parliament until 1844. The broad gauge line and viaduct at Ivybridge was opened on 5th May 1848 as part of the Totnes to Laira (Plymouth) line. This line consisted of the last extension of the Great Western Railway from Bristol to Plymouth.

 

To celebrate the opening of the South Devon Line, a special train carrying invited guests, many connected with its construction, left Laira near Plymouth on the morning of 5 May. The train consisted of one first class carriage, two second class and two third class and was drawn by two engines, named Pisces and Cancer.

 

Shortly after leaving Laira the journey took in the grounds of the Earl of Morley at Saltram and Colebrook Station at Plympton before continuing through open countryside. Entering a deep cutting at Ivybridge, the train passed the yet to be completed railway station. From there the track crossed the Exeter to Plymouth turnpike road via a skew bridge near Bittaford and then on to the 800-yard Marley tunnel through the grounds of Lady Carew. After an “exceedingly pleasant trip”, passengers alighted the train at Totnes just 42 minutes later.

 

At Totnes everyone enjoyed a breakfast at the Seven Stars and Seymour Hotels before re-boarding the train which was decked in flags and evergreens for the return journey. Arriving back to Plymouth the guests were met and transported to the Royal Hotel for a déjeûner á la fourchette and the prosperity of the South Devon Railway was toasted.

Built as a broad gauge railway, the line was converted for standard use in 1892 following a merger between South Devon Railway and Great Western Railway on 1st February 1876. The line originally had just a single track but was doubled to the west on 11 June 1893 and from the far side of the viaduct to the east on 13 August 1893.

Early trains were hauled by contractors’ locomotives belonging to Green’s of Newton Abbott.

Fatal Collision

The Western Gazette Friday March 20th 1891

 

On Thursday night, while a number of men were clearing the line at Ivybridge, Devon, and were getting a disabled engine in position for hoisting on to the metals, a relief train from Plymouth came up at a rate of 25 miles an hour and crashed through a stationary carriage in to the disabled engine. Several men were injured and for some time buried in the snow. A Plymouth man was taken out dead and the lives of others are despaired of. Mr Storey (Superintendent Engineer Locomotives) was badly injured and had to be removed to the South Devon Hospital at Plymouth.

City of Truro Steam Locomotive

 

Apart from the normal passenger trains a number of more unusual trains passed through Ivybridge. On the morning of 9th May 1904 the ‘City of Truro’ became the first steam locomotive to exceed 100 mph

Shareholder’s Perks

 

A perk of being a shareholder in the Great Western railway was that you could request the train to stop at your local station. The owners of the mill were in this position and often travelled on The Cornish Riviera from London and alighted at Ivybridge Station, an unscheduled stop.

    Ivybridge Railway Station

was opened on 15th June 1848. The building was situated on the north side of the track, immediately to the west of Ivybridge Viaduct.

 

The main station building was a chalet-style structure with round-headed windows and an overhanging roof. Access to the platforms was along aptly named Station Road or via steeply inclined steps located close to the viaduct. From the platform, travellers enjoyed an almost panoramic view of Ivybridge.

 

Rail travel was affordable for everyone and was a popular means of travel with first, second and third class carriages. In 1844 the Railway Regulation Act stipulated that passengers in third class must be sheltered from the elements and be provided with seats.

At random intervals Ivybridge was visited by trains known as ‘farm specials’ – effectively farms on the move – with livestock, fodder, machinery, working horses, the farmer and his family and the farm hands all moving from one part of the country to another, following the farm sales. Regular stops for milking, feeding, watering and mucking out were all planned. Other special trains called at Ivybridge to pick up supplies of the specialist paper produced at Stowford Mill.

Ivybridge Railway Station staff.
Ivybridge Railway Station
Map of Goods shed and Station

Queen Mary alights the train at Ivybridge Railway Station …

On Monday 16 May 1938, Queen Mary commenced a 5 day visit to Devon. This would be the first time she had been in the Westcountry since the war, when she visited Devonport with the late King George V. She left Paddington at noon, arriving at Exeter St. David’s Station at 3 o’clock. From here, a special train of three coaches (two L. and N.E. Royal saloons and a third G.W.R. coach), would transport her to Ivybridge Railway Station.

 

On the station platform she was greeted by Lord Francis Bingham Mildmay who was acting as Lord-Lieutenant in the absence of Lord Fortescue who had been taken ill. From there, the Queen was taken by the Royal Limousine, a dark maroon Daimler, to Flete estate near Ermington, where she was staying as a guest of Lord Mildmay.

 

The procession of vehicles left the railway station and made their way along Station Road, Erme Road and Fore Street, en route to Flete. The school in Ivybridge had a day’s holiday to enable children of the village to witness the historic occasion. Nearby Stowford paper mill stopped production and the shop keepers in Fore Street stood outside their shops.

Strings and clusters of flags, charmingly colourful against the backgrounds of green and dark, moist stone, were the festive symbols of a loyal, hearty welcome. Scores of children, each in Sunday best and carrying a Union Jack, had gathered in excited groups, with their waiting elders in lines behind them.

Her Majesty, it had been announced, preferred that no new bunting should be bought to mark her visit, and that flags preserved from Coronation time be used. No doubt Ivybridge obeyed that wish; yet the display was a brave and bonny one, fitting to a memorable occasion.

Western Morning News 17 May 1938

There must have been a thousand or more people in the streets of Ivybridge, and hundreds more were waiting on the road through Ermington to Flete

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 20 May 1938

Amongst the crowd welcoming the Queen to Ivybridge was Miss Emma Ann Wyatt, aged 101 waving here hankerchief with “ as much strength as she could muster” as she drove past

Western Morning News 21 May 1938

The Queen’s engagements during her short stay included a visit to Pamflete, the home of Major and Mrs Crocker Bulteel. This attractive Georgian farmhouse located near Holbeton had been enlarged to accommodate John Crocker Bulteel’s large family and staff when he left Flete in 1870. Here she was shown various objets d’art including a painting by Constable of Mary Bulteel as a child. It was then on to Mothecombe House, the home of Mr Alfred Mildmay and Miss Beatrice Mildmay, the brother and sister of her host. Later she visited Holbeton church and signed the visitors book “Mary R”.

 

Later in the week she visited Plymouth, meeting the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress before proceeding on to the Prince of Wales’s Hospital Greenbank road and afterwards at the Guildhall. Her last day was spent in Exeter before departing from Ivybridge once more on Friday 20 May. Whilst waiting for her train to arrive it was suggested she might like to go in the waiting-room to which she replied, “ I would rather stay in the lovely Devonshire air”. The royal saloon decked with pink carnations and attached to the Cornish Riviera Express arrived soon afterwards and Queen Mary departed for London.

Queen Mary alights the train at Ivybridge Railway Station …

On Monday 16 May 1938, Queen Mary commenced a 5 day visit to Devon. This would be the first time she had been in the Westcountry since the war, when she visited Devonport with the late King George V. She left Paddington at noon, arriving at Exeter St. David’s Station at 3 o’clock. From here, a special train of three coaches (two L. and N.E. Royal saloons and a third G.W.R. coach), would transport her to Ivybridge Railway Station.

 

On the station platform she was greeted by Lord Francis Bingham Mildmay who was acting as Lord-Lieutenant in the absence of Lord Fortescue who had been taken ill. From there, the Queen was taken by the Royal Limousine, a dark maroon Daimler, to Flete estate near Ermington, where she was staying as a guest of Lord Mildmay.

 

The procession of vehicles left the railway station and made their way along Station Road, Erme Road and Fore Street, en route to Flete. The school in Ivybridge had a day’s holiday to enable children of the village to witness the historic occasion. Nearby Stowford paper mill stopped production and the shop keepers in Fore Street stood outside their shops.

Strings and clusters of flags, charmingly colourful against the backgrounds of green and dark, moist stone, were the festive symbols of a loyal, hearty welcome. Scores of children, each in Sunday best and carrying a Union Jack, had gathered in excited groups, with their waiting elders in lines behind them.

Her Majesty, it had been announced, preferred that no new bunting should be bought to mark her visit, and that flags preserved from Coronation time be used. No doubt Ivybridge obeyed that wish; yet the display was a brave and bonny one, fitting to a memorable occasion.

Western Morning News 17 May 1938

There must have been a thousand or more people in the streets of Ivybridge, and hundreds more were waiting on the road through Ermington to Flete

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 20 May 1938

Amongst the crowd welcoming the Queen to Ivybridge was Miss Emma Ann Wyatt, aged 101 waving here hankerchief with “ as much strength as she could muster” as she drove past

Western Morning News 21 May 1938

The Queen’s engagements during her short stay included a visit to Pamflete, the home of Major and Mrs Crocker Bulteel. This attractive Georgian farmhouse located near Holbeton had been enlarged to accommodate John Crocker Bulteel’s large family and staff when he left Flete in 1870. Here she was shown various objets d’art including a painting by Constable of Mary Bulteel as a child. It was then on to Mothecombe House, the home of Mr Alfred Mildmay and Miss Beatrice Mildmay, the brother and sister of her host. Later she visited Holbeton church and signed the visitors book “Mary R”.

 

Later in the week she visited Plymouth, meeting the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress before proceeding on to the Prince of Wales’s Hospital Greenbank road and afterwards at the Guildhall. Her last day was spent in Exeter before departing from Ivybridge once more on Friday 20 May. Whilst waiting for her train to arrive it was suggested she might like to go in the waiting-room to which she replied, “ I would rather stay in the lovely Devonshire air”. The royal saloon decked with pink carnations and attached to the Cornish Riviera Express arrived soon afterwards and Queen Mary departed for London.

The deterioration of the railway network

After World War II, with the rail network in a severely poor state of repair, it was nationalised as British Railways. The line at Ivybridge was handed over to British Railways (Western Region) at midnight on New Year’s Eve 1947. Britain was entering a phase of economic recovery and with petrol rationing at an end, car ownership began to grow rapidly, in stark contrast to the deteriorating viability of the railways. To address the problem British Railways embarked upon a ‘Modernisation Plan’ aimed at improving capacity, reliability and safety and make services more attractive to passengers and freight operators. Measures included electrification of main lines, replacement of steam locomotives by modern diesel alternatives, new passenger and freight rolling stock and the closure of several lines. By the end of the decade British Railways announced the closure of passenger services at several local stations including Plympton, Cornwood, Ivybridge, Bittaford and Wrangaton.  On 2 March 1959 all passenger services at Ivybridge ceased and the railway station was demolished during the next decade.

Sgnl bx

A signal box was situated on the south side of the line between the station and the goods yard from 1895 until 1973.

Sgnl bx

A signal box was situated on the south side of the line between the station and the goods yard from 1895 until 1973.

Ivybridge Railway Station Goods Yard

Ivybridge Railway Station Goods Yard

The original goods shed at Ivybridge Railway Station was replaced on 1 October 1911 by a new facility further west accessed via Langham Levels. The red brick goods shed was accompanied by cattle loading pens and coal wharves. It was very busy place regularly receiving and despatching goods. It became the distribution centre for heavy goods and parcels of the postal service, serving the southern parts of the South Hams.

The original goods shed at Ivybridge Railway Station was replaced on 1 October 1911 by a new facility further west accessed via Langham Levels. The red brick goods shed was accompanied by cattle loading pens and coal wharves. It was very busy place regularly receiving and despatching goods. It became the distribution centre for heavy goods and parcels of the postal service, serving the southern parts of the South Hams.

The original goods shed at Ivybridge Railway Station was replaced on 1 October 1911 by a new facility further west accessed via Langham Levels. The red brick goods shed was accompanied by cattle loading pens and coal wharves. It was very busy place regularly receiving and despatching goods. It became the distribution centre for heavy goods and parcels of the postal service, serving the southern parts of the South Hams.

With the railway network continuing to deteriorate, a new radical solution was urgently required. In 1963, Richard Beeching, Chairman of the British Railways Board produced a report entitled ‘The Reshaping of British Railways’, commonly referred to as ‘The Beeching Report’. This identified uneconomic routes and recommended widespread closure of railway stations across Britain as well as the scrapping of goods wagons. On 29 November 1965 the goods yard at Ivybridge was unable to avoid the ‘Beeching Axe’ and was closed for good, with local man Tom Pettifer locking up for the very last time. It did however continue as a china clay distribution point receiving locally sourced china clay from Lee Moor by road transport.

With the railway network continuing to deteriorate, a new radical solution was urgently required. In 1963, Richard Beeching, Chairman of the British Railways Board produced a report entitled ‘The Reshaping of British Railways’, commonly referred to as ‘The Beeching Report’. This identified uneconomic routes and recommended widespread closure of railway stations across Britain as well as the scrapping of goods wagons. On 29 November 1965 the goods yard at Ivybridge was unable to avoid the ‘Beeching Axe’ and was closed for good, with local man Tom Pettifer locking up for the very last time. It did however continue as a china clay distribution point receiving locally sourced china clay from Lee Moor by road transport.

A replacement railway station was opened in Ivybridge a mile away from the original site on the east side of the viaduct on 15 July 1994.

null
null

RAIL LINKS

The British Pathe film follows the delivery of a postcard to a family living at Pound Farm in Ivybridge. In 1947 Pound Farm was let to Percy Lawrence Ford on a yearly Michaelmas tenancy from Highlands Estate. 
The children in the film appear to be twins called Dorothy and Donald Ford. Their mother was a Miss Yeoman before she married Percy Ford and William Yeoman was at the farm in 1930. The twins were born at the end of  1932. 
Richard Wingett had the farm in 1902 and Mrs Ann Wills in 1897.
A Shoemaker in Fore Street was called Ford in 1902.

THE SOUTH DEVON RAILWAY

The South Devon Railway was first proposed in 1837 but was not authorised by an Act of Parliament until 1844. The broad gauge line and viaduct at Ivybridge was opened on 5th May 1848 as part of the Totnes to Laira (Plymouth) line. This line consisted of the last extension of the Great Western Railway from Bristol to Plymouth.
To celebrate the opening of the South Devon Line, a special train carrying invited guests, many connected with its construction, left Laira near Plymouth on the morning of 5 May. The train consisted of one first class carriage, two second class and two third class and was drawn by two engines, named Pisces and Cancer.
Shortly after leaving Laira the journey took in the grounds of the Earl of Morley at Saltram and Colebrook Station at Plympton before continuing through open countryside. Entering a deep cutting at Ivybridge, the train passed the yet to be completed railway station. From there the track crossed the Exeter to Plymouth turnpike road via a skew bridge near Bittaford and then on to the 800-yard Marley tunnel through the grounds of Lady Carew. After an “exceedingly pleasant trip”, passengers alighted the train at Totnes just 42 minutes later.
At Totnes everyone enjoyed a breakfast at the Seven Stars and Seymour Hotels before re-boarding the train which was decked in flags and evergreens for the return journey. Arriving back to Plymouth the guests were met and transported to the Royal Hotel for a déjeûner á la fourchette and the prosperity of the South Devon Railway was toasted.
Early trains were hauled by contractors’ locomotives belonging to Green’s of Newton Abbott.
Built as a broad gauge railway, the line was converted for standard use in 1892 following a merger between South Devon Railway and Great Western Railway on 1st February 1876. The line originally had just a single track but was doubled to the west on 11 June 1893 and from the far side of the viaduct to the east on 13 August 1893.

IVYBRIDGE RAILWAY STATION

The station at Ivybridge was opened on 15th June 1848. The building was situated on the north side of the track, immediately to the west of Ivybridge Viaduct.
The main station building was a chalet-style structure with round-headed windows and an overhanging roof. Access to the platforms was along aptly named Station Road or via steeply inclined steps located close to the viaduct. From the platform, travellers enjoyed an almost panoramic view of Ivybridge.
Rail travel was affordable for everyone and was a popular means of travel with first, second and third class carriages. In 1844 the Railway Regulation Act stipulated that passengers in third class must be sheltered from the elements and be provided with seats.
Apart from the normal passenger trains a number of more unusual trains passed through Ivybridge. On the morning of 9th May 1904 the ‘City of Truro’ became the first steam locomotive to exceed 100 mph. At random intervals Ivybridge was also visited by trains known as ‘farm specials’ – effectively farms on the move – with livestock, fodder, machinery, working horses, the farmer and his family and the farm hands all moving from one part of the country to another, following the farm sales. Regular stops for milking, feeding, watering and mucking out were all planned. Other special trains called at Ivybridge to pick up supplies of the specialist paper produced at Stowford Mill.
After World War II, with the rail network in a severely poor state of repair, it was nationalised as British Railways. The line at Ivybridge was handed over to British Railways (Western Region) at midnight on New Year’s Eve 1947. Britain was entering a phase of economic recovery and with petrol rationing at an end, car ownership began to grow rapidly, in stark contrast to the deteriorating viability of the railways. To address the problem British Railways embarked upon a ‘Modernisation Plan’ aimed at improving capacity, reliability and safety and make services more attractive to passengers and freight operators. Measures included electrification of main lines, replacement of steam locomotives by modern diesel alternatives, new passenger and freight rolling stock and the closure of several lines. By the end of the decade British Railways announced the closure of passenger services at several local stations including Plympton, Cornwood, Ivybridge, Bittaford and Wrangaton.  On 2 March 1959 all passenger services at Ivybridge ceased and the railway station was demolished during the next decade.

IVYBRIDGE RAILWAY STATION GOODS YARD

The original goods shed at Ivybridge Railway Station was replaced on 1 October 1911 by a new facility further west accessed via Langham Levels. The red brick goods shed was accompanied by cattle loading pens and coal wharves. It was very busy place regularly receiving and despatching goods. It became the distribution centre for heavy goods and parcels of the postal service, serving the southern parts of the South Hams.
With the railway network continuing to deteriorate, a new radical solution was urgently required. In 1963, Richard Beeching, Chairman of the British Railways Board produced a report entitled ‘The Reshaping of British Railways’, commonly referred to as ‘The Beeching Report’. This identified uneconomic routes and recommended widespread closure of railway stations across Britain as well as the scrapping of goods wagons. On 29 November 1965 the goods yard at Ivybridge was unable to avoid the ‘Beeching Axe’ and was closed for good, with local man Tom Pettifer locking up for the very last time. It did however continue as a china clay distribution point receiving locally sourced china clay from Lee Moor by road transport.
A replacement railway station was opened in Ivybridge a mile away from the original site on the east side of the viaduct on 15 July 1994.