Tamar Valley Line


Tamar Valley Line

Infobox rail line
name = Tamar Valley Line
color =

logo_width =



image_width =
caption = British Rail Class 153 at Dockyard
type = Community railway
system =
status =
locale = Cornwall and Devon
start = Plymouth
end = Gunnislake
stations =
routes =
ridership =
open =
close =
owner = Network Rail
operator = First Great Western
character =
depot =
stock =
linelength = convert|14|mi|km|abbr=on
tracklength =
notrack = Single track throughout
gauge =
el =
speed = convert|55|mph|km/h|abbr=on
elevation =


map_state = collapsed
The Tamar Valley Line is a railway line from Devonport in Plymouth Devon, to Gunnislake in Cornwall, United Kingdom. The line follows the River Tamar for much of its route.

History

The line from St Budeaux to Bere Alston was opened for passenger traffic on 2 June 1890 by the Plymouth, Devonport and South Western Junction Railway (PDSWJ) as part of their line from Lydford to Devonport, which in effect was an extension of the London and South Western Railway's main line from London Waterloo station to Lydford, enabling the LSWR to reach Plymouth independently of the Great Western Railway. [cite book | last = Cheesman | first = AJ | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = The Plymouth, Devonport and South Wesetern Junction Railway | publisher = Oakwood Press | date = 1967 | location = Blandford Forum]

The branch to Gunnislake was opened by the PDSWJ on 2 March 1908. [cite book | last = Crombleholme | first = Roger| coauthors = Gibson, Bryan; Stickey, Douglas; Whetmath, CFD | title = Callington Railways | publisher = Forge Books | date = 1967 | location = Brackenll| doi = 1985]

Motive power

The line used former LSWR O2 Class tank engines as the man form of motive power for many years but in the 1950s newer LMS Ivatt Class 2 2-6-2T engines took over. By 1964 steam had been ousted from the line and DMUs had taken over, working as two-car sets.

Today services are operated by First Great Western using Class 150 or Class 153 diesel multiple units.

Route

Communities served: Plymouth (including the suburbs of Devonport and St Budeaux) – Bere Ferrers – Bere Alston – Calstock – Gunnislake

The section between Calstock and Bere Ferrers is on the Bere peninsula, between the river Tamar, and the river Tavy. The most southerly road bridge (the A390) on the peninsula is at Gunnislake, crossing the river Tamar. This means the railway is the quickest way of getting into the city of Plymouth to the south. The line did face closure by the Beeching Axe, however the remaining section of line was saved due to the poor road transportation.

Passenger volume

The number of passengers travelling on the Tamar Valley line has been declining in recent years, although numbers travelling to or from some Plymouth suburban stations is increasing, as it is at Gunnislake itself. [cite web|title =Station Usage|work =Rail Statistics|publisher =Office of Rail Regulation| url=http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.1529|accessdate = 2008-06-30] The statistics cover twelve month periods that start in April.

Community rail

The Tamar Valley Line is one of the railway lines supported by the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, an organisation formed in 1991 to promote railway services in the area. The line is promoted by many means such as regular timetable and scenic line guides, as well as leaflets highlighting leisure opportunities such as walking or visiting country pubs.

The Tamar Valley rail ale trail was launched in 2004 to encourage rail travellers to visit pubs near the line. Five are in Plymouth city centre and a further three in the suburbs of Devonport and St Budeaux. There are single pubs to visit at Bere Ferrers and Bere Alston, two in Calstock and six in Gunnislake. 6, 10 or 18 stamps collected in the Rail Ale Trail leaflet entitle the participant to claim special Tamar Valley Line Rail Trail souvenir merchandise. [Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership (2006), "Tamar Valley Line Rail Ale Trail"]

Wessex Trains covered Class 150 2-car DMU number 150240 in coloured pictures promoting the line and named "The Tamar Kingfisher". It is now in service with Arriva Trains Wales and works throughout it's network.

The line was designated as a community rail line in September 2005, being one of seven pilots for the Department for Transport's Community Rail Development Strategy. This aims to establish the true costs and revenues for the line with an aim of improving them. It is also looking at simplifiying the reversal of trains, considering the costs and benefits should the line be "microfranchised" separately from the Great Western Franchise, and the potential for extending the line from Bere Alston to Tavistock. [ Department for Transport Rail Group (2005), "Route prospectus for the … Looe Valley Line and … Tamar Valley Line" ]

On 18 March 2008 Devon County Council backed a proposal by developers Kilbride Community Rail to construct 750 houses in Tavistock that includes reopening the convert|5.5|mi|km|0 line from Bere Alston to a new Tavistock railway station at a cost of £18.5million. [cite journal| last = Harris| first = Nigel| title = Taking trains back to Tavistock| journal = Rail| issue = 590| pages = 40–45| publisher = Bauer| date = 2008]

References

External links

* [http://www.carfreedaysout.com/ Great Scenic Railways in Devon and Cornwall.]
* [http://www.minebydesign.co.uk/calstock/railway/railway_intro.htm Calstock Online Parish Clerk - Railway pages]


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