Plym Valley Railway

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Plym Valley Railway
Coordinates50°23′42″N 4°04′59″W / 50.395°N 4.083°W / 50.395; -4.083Coordinates: 50°23′42″N 4°04′59″W / 50.395°N 4.083°W / 50.395; -4.083
Commercial operations
NameLaunceston Branch Line
Built bySouth Devon and Tavistock Railway
Original gauge7 ft 14 in (2,140 mm) Brunel gauge
Preserved operations
Length1 12 miles (2.4 km)
Preserved gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Commercial history
1892converted to
4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Preservation history
2012Extended to Plym Bridge
HeadquartersMarsh Mills

The Plym Valley Railway is a 1 12-mile (2.4 km) heritage railway based on part of the now-closed South Devon and Tavistock Railway, a branch line of the Great Western Railway in Devon, England.


The line was originally part of the South Devon and Tavistock Railway, a 7 ft 14 in (2,140 mm) broad gauge railway linking Plymouth with Tavistock in Devon, England. This opened in 1859, was converted to 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) in 1892 and closed in 1962.

Local enthusiasts set up a group in 1982 to restore part of the line as the Plym Valley Railway. The first section re-opened in May 2008 when trains could operate over 34 mile (1.2 km) of track as far as Lee Moor crossing, the site where the 4 ft 6 in (1,372 mm) gauge Lee Moor Tramway (now the West Devon Way cycle path) used to cross the line on the level. A new station was constructed just north of the site of the original Marsh Mills railway station as that site is occupied by a line that serves the Marsh Mills china clay plant. The new station was provided with a shop, buffet and small museum.

The preserved line was extended to Plym Bridge on 30 December 2012, bringing it to 1 12 miles (2.4 km) in length.

The 0-4-0ST steam locomotive "Albert" returned to service in December 2007 after receiving major repairs to its boiler. Albert has operated on all passenger trains and diesel No. 13002 has been used regularly on engineering trains. In 2009 preparation work commenced on returning 0-6-0ST "Byfield" to steam, seeing the locomotive stripped down to its main components for assessment.


Plym Valley Railway
Plym Bridge Platform
Marsh Mills

The Plym Valley Railway is based at Marsh Mills which is close to the A38 road near Plymouth. It operates trains as far as Plym Bridge.

Rolling stock[edit]

Steam locomotives[edit]

  • Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST Albert
    Albert was built for the British Sugar Corporation, and worked at their Worcester and Somerset plants. It was at the Nene Valley Railway and the East Kent Railway before being privately purchased and coming to the Plym Valley Railway in 2004. It was sent to Portland for repairs, and returned in 2007. It is undergoing overhaul, with a return to service expected in June 2019.[out of date]
    • Built in 1948 by Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co. Ltd. at Kilmarnock, Scotland, Works No. 2248
    • Wheel arrangement: 0-4-0ST
    • Boiler pressure: 160 psi (1,100 kPa)
    • Approx. weight: 35 long tons (39 short tons; 36 t) in working order
    • Tractive effort: 19,430 lb (8,810 kg) at 85% boiler pressure
    • Cylinders: 16 in × 24 in (406 mm × 610 mm)
    • Wheel diameter: 3 ft 7 in (1,092 mm) [1]
  • W.G. Bagnall 0-6-0ST Byfield No. 2
    Byfield No. 2 was built at Bagnall's, Stafford in 1942, to help with the war effort in ironstone quarries around Northamptonshire. The steam engines worked in the area until 1965. In 1944 Byfield was transferred to Banbury and was there until 1947 when it was transferred to Kettering, where it was renamed ‘Loddington No. 2’. The locomotive remained in the area for many years until it was sold to Hunt & Co at Hinkley in 1970 and was painted blue. Byfield was rescued from Hinkley by enthusiasts for restoration and use on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway in the 1980s. It was withdrawn after its boiler expired in 1990. Byfield was then purchased by the Plym Valley Railway and moved to Marsh Mills in 2002. It is currently having a complete overhaul before it can be used again. It is undergoing overhaul in 2019.
    • Built: 18 February 1942, Bagnalls, Stafford, Works No: WB2655
    • Weight: 38 long tons 10 hundredweight (39.1 t)
    • Tractive effort: Approximately 19,000 lb (8,600 kg)
    • Boiler Pressure: 175 psi (1,210 kPa)
    • Cylinders: 15 in × 22 in (381 mm × 559 mm)
    • Wheel diameter: 3 ft 4 12 in (1.029 m)
    • Wheel arrangement: 0-6-0ST [2]
  • Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST 705
    No.705 was built by Andrew Barclay & Sons Co. at their Caledonia works in 1937, works number 2047. The locomotive was built for "The Clyde Valley Electrical Power Company" and was based at the "Yoker Power station" as locomotive number 4, near Glasgow beside the Clyde river. It spent its entire working life there, shunting coal trucks to feed the power station until withdrawn in the 1970s. Later in the 1970s it was sold to a company who planned to build a railway on the Orkney Islands, but this scheme failed. The locomotive remained stored at the Strathspey Railway until it was purchased by the previous owner, who moved the locomotive to the East Somerset Railway, where they finished its restoration and returned the locomotive to operation in 1994. The Swansea Harbour Trust had similar locomotives which were absorbed into GWR stock in 1923. The previous owner painted the locomotive in this 1923 GWR livery and numbered it 705, which was the next vacant number in the GWR series. The locomotive ran in GWR green until its next overhaul in 2000, when the East Somerset Railway again restored the locomotive. This time it was painted BR black, which was kept until withdrawn in 2007. The locomotive was offered for sale and it was purchased by a Plym Valley Railway member in June 2011, and an overhaul started in 2012. The overhaul included turning the tyres, machining the journals, a full re-tube and replacing the foundation ring and the lower section of outer firebox. The overhaul was completed for Easter 2018 and the locomotive was outshopped in green.[3]
  • Fablok TKh49 0-6-0 No. 5374 Vanguard
    Arrived from Northampton & Lamport Railway in November 2016.[4] It is undergoing an overhaul in 2019.

Diesel locomotives and multiple units[edit]

  • Class 03 0-6-0DM D2046
    D2046 was built at Doncaster in 1958 and worked in the North East of England before being withdrawn at Thornaby in 1971 before receiving a Class 03 TOPS number. The locomotive was sold to Gulf Oil and was used at Waterston Refinery, Milford Haven carrying ‘No. 2’ The locomotive was then moved from Pembrokeshire to Merthyr Tydfil in 2000 where it was repainted and prepared for sale. By March 2006, D2046 had been moved to Goodman's Yard, Sutton Coldfield and it was then purchased privately andf moved to the Plym Valley Railway. The locomotive is undergoing mechanical overhaul in 2019.
    • Built: Doncaster 1958
    • Weight: 30 long tons 17 cwt (31.3 t)
    • Tractive Effort: 15,300 lb (6,900 kg)
    • Driving Wheels: 3 ft 7 in (1,092 mm)
    • Wheelbase 9 ft (2.74 m)
    • Engine: Gardner 8L3
    • Gearbox: Wilson-Drewry CA5
    • Engine Power: 204 hp (152 kW) at 1200 rpm
    • Maximum Speed: 28.5 mph (45.9 km/h) [5]
  • Class 08 0-6-0DE 13002
    The ‘08’ arrived in an operational condition at the Plym Valley Railway in 1982 and for many years was the only operational engine on the railway. The locomotive was constructed in 1952 at Derby (the third Class 08 to be built) and served Bristol St Philips Marsh and Bristol Bath Road depot until 1972. The locomotive was then sold to Foster Yeoman Ltd and moved to Merehead Quarry in Somerset where it shunted stone trains. The locomotive became surplus to requirements in 1980 so was stored at Gloucester depot and was then sold to the Plym Valley Railway. The locomotive is currently painted in BR Black livery in ‘As built’ condition and displays 13002, the number given before receiving D3002. The locomotive was withdrawn from BR service before the TOPS classification so did not receive an 08XXX number. It is operational in 2019.
    • Built in 1952 at Derby
    • Wheel arrangement: 0-6-0DE
    • Weight: 50 tons[6]
  • Class 117 DMU T304 (51407+51365)
    The Class 117s started work for British Rail in 1959-60 and were based all around the UK. Cars Nos. DMS 51407 & DMBS 51365 (plus TC 59517 as a three car set) were based at Southall and worked Paddington–Slough–Reading local services. In 1984 they were transferred to Bristol as set B427 and worked on the surrounding branch lines. However, this was only short lived and two years later, as L427, the set was transferred back to London and based at Reading depot. Finally, the set was transferred to Tyseley, Birmingham in 1989 as T304 and was subsequently withdrawn from service in 1992. However the set, minus its centre car, was put back into service to replace Class 142s in the south west until Class 150 and 153s became available. The unit travelled on many branch lines in the region and was based at St Blazey. It was purchased by the Plym Valley Railway in 1995. The set is currently under both an internal and an external restoration. It is undergoing overhaul in 2019.
    • 51402 (Driving Motor Second (DMS) built Pressed Steel, Linwood, Scotland, 1960 (89 seats)
    • 51365, Driving Motor Brake Second (DMBS) built Pressed Steel, Linwood, Scotland,- 1960 (65 seats)
    • Weight: 36 long tons (40 short tons; 37 t), each car.
    • Engines: Two B.U.T (Leyland) 680 6 cylinder horizontal diesels per car
    • Power: 150 hp (110 kW) per engine
    • Body:65 ft 0 in (19.81 m) x 9 ft 3 in (2.82 m)
    • Coupling Code: Blue Square
    • Maximum Speed: 70 mph (110 km/h) [7]
  • Plymstock Cement Works 0-4-0DH 'Vanguard' shunter
    Worked at Plymstock cement works until 1988 then came to Plym Valley Railway in 1990. Currently (2020) undergoing a repaint into Blue Circle Cement yellow livery.
    • Built in 1963 at Thomas Hill, (Rotherham) Ltd. Vanguard works, Kilnhurst, Yorkshire
    • Weight: 29 long tons (32 short tons; 29 t)
    • Engine: Rolls Royce 6 cylinder diesel
    • Power: 125 hp (93 kW)
    • Wheel arrangement: 0-4-0DH
    • Wheel Dia.: 3 ft 7 in (1,092 mm) [8]
  • Sentinel 0-4-0 10077 Sidney
    The ‘Sentinel’ arrived in an operational condition at the Plym Valley Railway on 1 April 2015. The locomotive has had a life in Yorkshire and after being released into traffic by Rolls Royce, Shrewsbury on 11 July 1961 it was transported to Raisby Tarmac Quarry, Coxhoe, County Durham. The Durham Locomotive Preservation Group purchased the locomotive who moved the locomotive to the Weardale Railway in 2002. Under the same ownership the locomotive was moved to the NRM at Shildon during 2011 before being sold and moved to the Wensleydale Railway in March 2014. The locomotive was purchased privately and has moved to the Plym Valley Railway for restoration which will then lead to it standing in for the ‘Vanguard’ locomotive on Brake Van Rides and the works train which will enable ‘Vanguard’ to undergo maintenance. The long term plan for the locomotive is to fit vacuum brakes to the engine so that it can work our full passenger train, of which the locomotive is more than capable of. The locomotive is currently painted in a BR Blue livery with wasp stripes on the buffer beam. It is operational in 2019.
    • Built: Shrewsbury 1961
    • Weight: 34 long tons (38 short tons; 35 t)
    • Tractive Effort: 21,600 lb (9,800 kg)
    • Engine: Rolls Royce C6
    • Engine Power: 230 hp (170 kW)
    • Maximum Speed: 18 mph (29 km/h) [9]

Former Plym Valley Railway locomotives[edit]


Number Builder/class Image Type Wheel arangment Livery Status Notes
Albert Andrew Barclay Marsh Mills Station on the Plym Valley Railway - geograph-4282634.jpg Steam locomotive 0-4-0ST Undergoing overhaul
Byfield No. 2 W.G. Bagnall Byfield steam-railway.jpg Steam locomotive 0-6-0ST Blue Undergoing overhaul
705 Andrew Barclay Steam Engine 705 on the Plym Valley Railway.jpg Steam locomotive 0-4-0ST GWR green Operational
5374 Vanguard Fablok TKh49 Steam locomotive 0-6-0 Undergoing overhaul
D2046 Class 03 Diesel shunter 0-6-0DM Undergoing overhaul
13002 Class 08 Plym Valley Class 08.jpg Diesel shunter 0-6-0DH BR black Operational
T304 (51407+51365) Class 117 Diesel Multiple Unit BR green Undergoing Overhaul
Thomas Hill 'Vanguard' Diesel shunter 0-4-0DH Out of service
10077 Sidney Sentinel Plym Valley Sentinel.jpg Diesel shunter 0-4-0 BR Blue Operational

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Albert". Plym Valley Railway. Archived from the original on 24 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Byfield". Plym Valley Railway. Archived from the original on 24 March 2016.
  3. ^ "705". Plym Valley Railway. Archived from the original on 24 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Vanguard 5374 Tkh 0-6-0t Polish Steam Locomotive". Facebook. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  5. ^ "D2046". Plym Valley Railway. Archived from the original on 24 March 2016.
  6. ^ "13002". Plym Valley Railway. Archived from the original on 24 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Class 117". Plym Valley Railway. Archived from the original on 24 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Vanguard". Plym *Valley Railway. Archived from the original on 24 March 2016.
  9. ^ "10077". Plym Valley Railway. Archived from the original on 24 March 2016.