Totnes Quay branch found beneath the streets

PART of GWR’s Totnes Quay branch – which featured in the early days of standard gauge preservation – has been unearthed.

In late November, a section of rail was found buried a foot beneath the roadway, by workmen who dug down to install a new floodgate just a few feet from the Mill Tail near the junction of The Plains and New Walk.

The branch running tramway-style across The Plains in the lower town in 1910.

The work was part of a £3.8 million Environment Agency flood prevention scheme, which has involved raising the town flood walls and slipways along a mile-long stretch of the Dart.

The scheme is intended to protect 213 homes and 204 commercial premises considered at risk from flooding in the town, with higher flood walls stretching from the railway bridge over the Dart to the Steam Packet pub.

It appeared that the track was buried after the line closed, rather than lifted,
as had been the case on the locomotive-hauled section on the far side of the level crossing.

The wharves on the River Dart at Totnes were the destination of the quay branch. Most of the warehouses have long since been converted into homes. ROBIN JONES

However, how much more of the track survives below the street is not known.

The three-quarters-of-a-mile freight-only line ran from a junction with the main line just north of Totnes station to a level crossing at The Plains in the centre of the lower town, before running tramway-style along the streets to the quay of the River Dart.

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