Notes: The station house is of grey stone with ractangular granite
framed windows and square topped chimneys, similar to other stations
on the branch.
The goods service wath withdrawn from Loddiswell on 4th Septener
1961. The station was unstaffed after this date and was downgraded
to a halt.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BRENT - KINGSBRIDGE
Before the opening of the branch line to Kingsbridge the
town was served by Wrangaton
Station which was opened on the 5th May 1848 on the South Devon
Railway which had opened between Exeter and Plymouth in 1846.
Shortly after opening the station was renamed Kingsbridge Road,
but reverted back to its original name when the GWR opened the
Kingsbridge branch in 1893.
The Kingsbridge branch was a long time coming as many local residents
didn't support the line as the town was served by three good coach
services. The Kingsbridge & Salcombe Railway was incorporated
in 1882, the company being taken over by the Great Western Railway
The line left the Exeter - Plymouth line at Brent which became
a junction station and followed the scenic Avon Valley for 12.3
miles into Kingsbridge with intermediate stations at Avonwick,
Gara Bridge and Loddiswell. The line crossed the River Avon ten
times but the only major engineering feat was the 638 years Sorley
Tunnel which takes the line beneath Sorley village. Because it
hugged the narrow Avon valley there was barely a straight length
of track on the whole branch with the three intermediate stations
and the terminus at Kingsbridge all built on a curve. The line
was single throughout with a passing loop at Gara Bridge Station.
Initial plans to extend the line five miles south along the side
of the estuary to Snapes Point at Salcombe were never implemented
and Kingsbridge remained the railhead for Salcombe. The opening
of the branch brought new prosperity to Salcombe but the failure
to extend beyond Kingsbridge prevented the wholesale development
of the town as a tourist destination. In the early days a horse
drawn coach did brisk business meeting trains and taking passengers
on to Salcombe.
The line, which became known as the Primrose Line had a quite
life relying heavily on leisure traffic. In 1934 the GWR introduced
'camping coaches' at the the stations consisting of old coaches
converted into holiday accommodation. The weekday Cornish Rivera
Express carried a through coach for Kingsbridge which was detached
at Exeter in the down direction and attached to the up train at
Newton Abbott. At weekends the branch had a direct service to
and from Paddington. During WW2 there was an increase in traffic
during the build up to D-Day.
After the war passenger traffic dwindled during the 1950's due
to the popularity of the car and it came as no surprise that an
early closure under the Beeching proposals was announced. It is
interesting to note that traffic on the Kingsbridge line increased
by around 25% in its last twelve months of life and a summer Saturdays
through train to Paddington was packed out during the summer months
prior to the lines closure. Goods traffic at Kingsbridge was also
very heavy during the last summer on the line but there was no
last minute reprieve. The line lost its passenger and goods service
on 16th September 1963 despite a spirited local campaign to keep
the line open as a preserved line. This campaign failed at the
11th hour due to the intransigence of the British Railways Board
and the group turned their attention to the Buckfastleigh line
which opened as the Dart Valley Railway in 1969 and now operate
as the South
Devon Railway. Track lifting along the Kingsbridge line was
completed in May 1964.
Today parts of the route has been turned into a public footpath
although plans for a cycle way were dropped. Sorley Tunnel has
been used as part of an Adventure
World tourist attraction but this is now due to close.
To see the other
stations on the Brent - Kingsbridge branch railway click on the
station name: Brent, Avonwick,
Gara Bridge &