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HER Number:MDV3104
Name:South Devon Railway

Summary

Main line railway completed between Exeter and Plymouth in 1848. Brunel had surveyed the line in 1836, but it was not until 1843 that enough local interest was generated to support the railway that a company was formed, authorisation being sought, and granted, in 1844. Use of atmospheric power was recommended and unanimously adopted at the company's first meeting in August 1844. Brunel was confident that significant savings could be made using both the atmospheric system and a single track. This led to the line having steeper gradients and sharper curves than a conventional railway. Instead of spreading the climb between Newton Abbott and Plympton as evenly as possible, he grouped it into four `planes', two facing each way, where larger atmospheric pipes and more pumping stations were to be provided. By the end of 1846, when the railway had reached Newton Abbott, the Croydon Railway had been completed and Brunel wanted to gain from the experience of its atmospheric system. Unfortunately, almost everything concerning atmospheric running still had to be learned. By mid 1847, the first trains had been running using the system and Brunel was noting considerable problems. The atmospheric pipes were extended from Newton Abbott to Totnes, but never used. From September 9th, regular broad gauge steam trains were introduced and Brunel conceded that the atmospheric system was a failure. The South Devon Company was absorbed by the GWR in 1878. By then the line had been doubled except for the Dawlish - Teignmouth and Rattery - Hemerdon sections. Doubling was not completed until 1893, after the line's conversion to standard gauge in 1892. Additional tunnels and viaducts allowed complete doubling by 1905.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 670 582
Map Sheet:SX65NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishSouth Brent
Civil ParishUgborough
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishSOUTH BRENT
Ecclesiastical ParishUGBOROUGH

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: Linear 902
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 1359294
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX65NE/190

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • RAILWAY (XIX - 1848 AD to 1845 AD (Between))

Full description

COSSONS, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV165649.

South devon railway. Opened to plymouth (laira) on 5/5/1848 (thomas). Broad guage rail track at north filham. Short lengths of the iron rail used in the broad gauge south devon railway which linked exeter to plymouth in 1848 are now used as fence supports at the bridge carrying the lane over the railway at palace cottages. The railway was engineered by i. K. Brunel, and this type of rail, known as a "bridge rail" was associated with his name and the gwr. This bridge rail was discontinued in 1892 when the track was converted to standard guage. The bridge rail was spiked to wooden sleepers laid longitudinally underneath the iron rail and were kept apart by cross-ties on a gauge of 7ft. The rails were rolled wrought-iron. Several lengths of the rail also occur at the accomodation bridge to rutt farm, a few hundred yards west of north filham bridge, and also at the bridge near david's cross (cossons).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV165650.

Encyclopaedia britannica/18(1950)922-923.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV165651.

Cossons, n. /industrial archaeology/(1975)384.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV165652.

Thomas, d. St. J. /a regional history of railways of great britain/1(1981)66-68.

Historic England, 2021-2022, NRHE to HER website, Accessed 28/06/2021 (Website). SDV364039.

Main line railway completed between Exeter and Plymouth in 1848. Brunel had surveyed the line in 1836, but it was not until 1843 that enough local interest was generated to support the railway that a company was formed, authorisation being sought, and granted, in 1844. Use of atmospheric power was recommended and unanimously adopted at the company's first meeting in August 1844. Brunel was confident that significant savings could be made using both the atmospheric system and a single track. This led to the line having steeper gradients and sharper curves than a conventional railway. Instead of spreading the climb between Newton Abbott and Plympton as evenly as possible, he grouped it into four `planes', two facing each way, where larger atmospheric pipes and more pumping stations were to be provided. By the end of 1846, when the railway had reached Newton Abbott, the Croydon Railway had been completed and Brunel wanted to gain from the experience of its atmospheric system. Unfortunately, almost everything concerning atmospheric running still had to be learned. By mid 1847, the first trains had been running using the system and Brunel was noting considerable problems. The atmospheric pipes were extended from Newton Abbott to Totnes, but never used. From September 9th, regular broad gauge steam trains were introduced and Brunel conceded that the atmospheric system was a failure. The South Devon Company was absorbed by the GWR in 1878. By then the line had been doubled except for the Dawlish - Teignmouth and Rattery - Hemerdon sections. Doubling was not completed until 1893, after the line's conversion to standard gauge in 1892. Additional tunnels and viaducts allowed complete doubling by 1905 (Citing David St John Thomas, 1966, The West Country, pgs 45-53, Vol 1.).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV165649Migrated Record: COSSONS.
SDV165650Migrated Record:
SDV165651Migrated Record:
SDV165652Migrated Record:
SDV364039Website: Historic England. 2021-2022. NRHE to HER website. https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/NRHE. Website. Accessed 28/06/2021.

Associated Monuments

MDV22599Parent of: South Devon Railway (Dartmoor section from Marley Head Tunnel to Bittaford) (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Jun 30 2021 9:32AM