The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History
PLYMOUTH, DEVONPORT AND SOUTH WESTERN JUNCTION RAILWAY
On May 17th 1876 the London and South Western Railway Company commenced running through services from London's Waterloo Station to Devonport and Stonehouse Station by using the Great Western Railway's branch between Lydford and Plymouth.
While the LSWR were jubilant at the start it soon became evident that using another company's tracks was not satisfactory as that company, the Great Western, could impose restrictions on the running of trains that affected timekeeping and reliability. By 1882 the LSWR was looking for an independent route into Plymouth. Their plan was dropped, however, in favour of another plan brought forward by the Plymouth, Devonport and South Western Junction Railway Company.
This Company was formed on August 25th 1883 by Act of Parliament to construct a line from a new central station in Plymouth via Devonport, St Budeaux, Bere Alston and Tavistock to join up with the existing London and South Western line at Lydford, a distance of some 22½ miles. Further Acts during 1885, 1888 and 1889 amended this scheme and an agreement in 1889 between the three main companies allowed for the construction of a new line from Lipson Junction on the Great Western main line to Mount Gould Junction that would enable the LSWR goods station at Friary to be converted into a new passenger terminus.
The first turf of the new railway was cut on the afternoon of Tuesday March 30th 1887 near Tavistock. The line was to boast several major engineering works, including impressive viaducts at Tavistock and Ford, an eight-arched viaduct over the River Tavy and three huge tunnels, at Shillamill, Ford and Devonport.
A Board of Trade inspector visited the new railway on April 29th 1890 and the line was opened for goods traffic on Monday May 12th 1890 and for passenger trains on Monday June 2nd 1890. Although an independent line, it was leased to the London and South Western Railway and operated by them, although it never actually passed into their ownership. The only stations within Plymouth were at St Budeaux for Saltash, Ford and Devonport and Stonehouse, the latter of which was now turned from a terminus of the old line via the GWR into a through station. Trains terminated at North Road Station. Tamerton Foliott was added in 1898.
The final stretch of track was brought into operation on April 1st 1891 when the Great Western opened their short link between Lipson Junction and Mount Gould Junction which enabled trains to reach Friary Station. This was opened for passenger traffic on July 1st.
In the meantime, on June 1st 1891, the Plymouth, Devonport and South Western Junction Railway had taken over the East Cornwall Mineral Railway, which linked the quarries and mines around Gunnislake, Kit Hill and Kelly Bray with the quays at Calstock on the River Tamar. Suffice it to say that this 3 foot 6 inch gauge mineral line was extended to Bere Alston on the main line by means of a viaduct across the river, and converted for passenger traffic, which started on March 2nd 1908.
Although traffic on the main line part of the PD&SWJR was operated by the London and South Western Railway, the branch from Bere Alston to Callington boasted its own locomotives, all given appropriate names, "A S Harris", "Lord St Levan" and "Earl of Mount Edgcumbe".
Apparently the nameplate for "A S Harris", -- Mr Andrew Saunders Harris was a Deputy Director of the Company -- originally read "H S Harris" but when the error was pointed out it was quickly re-cast. 
|© Brian Moseley, Plymouth, UK|
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