STEAM returned to Kingsbridge nearly 53 years after the GWR branch line to the South Hams town closed.
The Kingsbridge branch, axed by Beeching on September 14, 1963, was the subject of attention from early preservationists, who were thwarted by the haste with which the tracks were lifted by BR, the same day that support from Kingsbridge Town Council had been enlisted.
In 1969, a U-shaped 7¼in gauge miniature railway was laid around the quayside at the head of the estuary in the town, with a GWR saddle tank as its motive power.
That line was later acquired by railway author and journalist Geoffrey Kichenside, the owner of the Gorse Blossom Miniature Railway near Newton Abbot, which opened in 1984 but is now closed.
The much-loved half-mile-long Kingsbridge quay line itself closed in 1991.
However, in 2014, Steve Mammatt, a director of local firm ActionWest Business Systems, drew up a plan to revive the line, and received the backing of the town council.
It was said that even after an absence of more than two decades, many people still asked after the miniature railway at the town’s Tourist Information Centre.
Read more in Issue 231 of HR – on sale now!