Daily Archives: May 11, 2011

Some Early Lines – Torbay & Brixham Railway

Some Early Lines

Torbay & Brixham Railway

Brixham Station – The Tony Harden Collection

Situated on the South Devon coast the Torbay and Brixham Railway was a 7 ft 0 14 in (2,140 mm) broad gauge railway which linked the Dartmouth & Torbay Railway at Churston Railway Station, Devon with the important fishing port of Brixham. It was a little over two miles long.

The railway was largely built due to the work of Richard Walter Wolston, a local solicitor, and was sold to the Great Western Railway on 1 January 1883.


  • 1861 Dartmouth & Torbay Railway opened to Churston Railway Station
  • 1864 Torbay and Brixham Railway authorised by Act of Parliament1864 Dartmouth and Torbay Railway extended to Kingswear Railway Station
  • 1868 Torbay and Brixham Railway opened
  • 1872 Dartmouth and Torbay Railway amalgamated with the South Devon Railway
  • 1876 South Devon Railway amalgamated with the Great Western Railway
  • 1883 Torbay and Brixham Railway sold to the Great Western Railway
  • 1892 The broad gauge converted to standard gauge
  • 1948 Great Western Railway nationalised into British Railways
  • 1963 Brixham line closed

Brixham Station

View southward, buffer-stops on left; ex-GWR terminus of branch from Churston, which was closed 13/5/63.    © Copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The railway station had a single platform and a goods shed opposite. An engine shed and another small goods yard were situated at the Churston end of the station. It had to be constructed on the hill above the town in order that the gradients between Brixham and Churston were not too steep.

On March 4th, 1961,  No. 1470 pulls out of Churston with the 11.13am for Brixham.  Peter F.Bowles.

Brixham was the location of Roxham station in The System, a 1964 film. An early scene sees most of the main characters at the station, either arriving on a train hauled by a British Rail Class 22 locomotive, or waiting there to see who is arriving in the town for a holiday.


Broad gauge 0-4-0T “Queen” built by E. B. Wilson & Co. for the Portland Breakwater Railway in 1853, in use at Portland before it went to the Torbay & Brixham Railway in 1870. It once fell into the sea — hence the awkward chimney repair. – John Speller’s Web Pages.

Queen – An 0-4-0WT locomotive built by E.B.Wilson & Co.

Gauge – 7’ 0¼”,  Driving Wheel – 4’ 0”,  Wheelbase – 8’ 0”,   Cylinders – 10½” x 17”

Queen was built by E.B.Wilson & Co. in 1852 and was used for several years at the Isle of Portland in the construction of the harbour thereAlthough the railway was initially worked by the South Devon Railway, the Torbay and Brixham Railway purchased this little locomotive to haul the trains. The South Devon Railway were to pay £3 per day for the privilege, however the railway soon had to mortgage Queen to the South Devon for £350 to cover its debt to that company. In 1883 it passed to the Great Western Railway, which immediately withdrew it from service.

King – A 2-4-0T locomotive built by the Avonside Engine Co.

Gauge – 7’ 0¼”,  Leading wheel diameter – 2’ 6”, Driving Wheel diameter – 3’ 0”,

Wheelbase – 9’ 6”,  Cylinders – 9”x16”

       A second locomotive was ordered by the Torbay and Brixham Railway for the South Devon Railway but in the end the latter company paid for it and it worked in its fleet. See South Devon Railway 2-4-0 locomotives for further information.

Raven – An 0-4-0ST locomotive built by the Avonside Engine Co.

Gauge – 7’ 0¼”,  Driver diameter – 3’ 0”,  Wheelbase – 7’ 6”,  Cylinders 14”x17”

    Raven had been built for the South Devon Railway as part of their Raven Class for shunting dockside lines at Plymouth. In 1877, now also carrying their number 2175, it was sold by the Great Western Railway to the Torbay and Brixham to assist Queen.

Great Western Locomotives

After 1883 the Great Western Railway provided various small locomotives from its fleet to operate the Brixham branch. Up until 1892 broad gauge locomotives were provided such as ex-South Devon Railway 2-4-0 Prince and GWR Hawthorn Class 2-4-0Ts.

After the line was converted to standard gauge on 23 May 1892 a number of small tank locomotives found themselves spending time at Brixham, including the unique 4-4-0ST 13. In later years standard GWR 1400 Class 0-4-2Ts worked the autotrain. At Churston the branch train once left for Brixham but this is now a matter of history.  On the last day of the regular steam haulage 14xx class 0-4-2 tank No.1470 hurries the 11.56 am auto along the branch.  It is the 4th March, 1961.  Peter F. Bowles.

Brixham Station – robertdarlaston.co.uk

The final trains were worked by British Rail Class 122 single-car DMUs.