The Brixham Railway Story (1868 – 1963)

The Brixham Railway, originally called the Torbay and Brixham Railway connected the town of Brixham in Devon to Churston Railway Station, just 2.2 miles away.

Remarkably, the railway was almost entirely funded by one man – Richard Walter Wolston, a solicitor and businessman based in Brixham.  Sadly Mr Wolston ended up financially ruined in his determined effort to connect Brixham to the growing rail network.

Brixham Railway ran for 95 years, opening in 1868 and closing in 1963 with the help of the infamous Dr Beeching’s Axe!

The following year, the railway track was pulled up and subsequently the station building was demolished to make way for residential housing.

Brixham Train at Churston Station platform, leaving for Brixham on

Photo courtesy of Ben Brooksbank, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Today, of the original 2.2 miles, there is approximately 1 mile of overgrown railway track bed remaining which is contained within private land owned by the Churston Barony.

The remaining track bed runs from Bridge Road in Churston, alongside Bascombe Road, over the bridge at Churston village, under a road bridge on Copythorne Road, and though fields to the edge of  North Boundary Road in Brixham.

If you use the satellite view of Google maps, you can still see the route the line took, even through the housing estate to the location of the Brixham Railway Station.

 

The Very Last Train Service for the Brixham Railway

Last train service day 11 May 1963 of the Brixham Branch Line, image copyright of Mike Roach

Last train service day, 11 May 1963 of the Brixham Branch Line, Churston Station end. Image copyright of Mike Roach

The route that the Brixham Railway Line took, as shown on Google Maps

GWR Brixham Branch Line Survey Drawing

The Great Western Railway (GWR) officially bought the line on 1 January 1883, and conducted a survey of the Brixham Branch Line  in 1900. You can see a copy of the survey drawing below.

GWR survey drawing of the Brixham Branch Line, dated 1900.

GWR Brixham Branch Line Survey Drawing, kindly donated by D Lemar.

In this drawing, the entire line is presented in 3 section, starting at Churston Railway Station and ending at Brixham Railway Station.

Brixham Branch Line Simulations

We found a couple of videos of Brixham Branch line train journey simulations on YouTube. They are included here so that you can get a simulated experience of the journey between Churston and Brixham stations.  These have been carefully created by train simulator enthusiasts using information from old photographs and other available data.

Inevitably there are a few scenery inacuracies but on the whole these are still lovely tributes to this wonderful branch line.

These have been created by users of a Train Simulator, created by Dovetail Games.  This is called Train Simulator Classic , and it allows the user to take to the controls of an authentic engine, drive real-world routes and customise them.

Brixham Station in the film “The System” (1964)

There are a number of old photographs in circulation of the station.  Luckly, immediately after the line was closed in 1963, film director Michael Winner used Brixham station as Roxham station in the 1964 film The System.

This clip taken from the film gives you an excellent trip down memory lane of how the station looked in the year it was closed.

The first part of the clip shows Churston station, then sections of the line from Teignmouth, arriving finally at Brixham station.

You can see the whole of “The System” film on YouTube via this link.

If you are local to the Torbay area, you will recognise many of the locations including Brixham quayside/town, Elberry Cove, Paignton harbour, seafront and pier, Torquay seafront and Beesands.

Brixham Railway Books

If you are interested in more detail on the history of the Brixham Railway Line, these 2 books come to mind and are thoroughly recommended: “The Brixham Branch” by Chris Potts and “Mr Wolston’s Little Line” by John Dilley.

The Brixham Branch - by C R Potts - Paperback

The Brixham Branch by C R Potts

This book contains an incredible amount of detailed information on the history of the Brixham Branch line.

168 pages.

Copies available for purchase at The Brixham Heritage Museum

Mr Wolston's Little Line - by John Dilley - paperback

Mr Wolston's Little Line by John Dilley

This is a great introduction to the Brixham Railway story and well worth a read.

42 pages.

Out of print, but you may be able to view a copy at The Brixham Heritage Museum, but check with them first.