Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,441 pages of information and 233,877 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Exeter and Exmouth Railway

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The line was constructed in 1861, connecting the City of Exeter and the port town of Exmouth, in England. It was built in two portions by two railway companies, but worked as a single entity.

In 1845 the Railway Mania was at its height, and two similar schemes for an "Exeter Topsham and Exmouth Railway" were publicised in August of that year. A few months later the Great Western Railway issued a prospectus for a "Great Western & Exeter, Topsham & Exmouth Junction Railway", and the South Devon Railway also issued a prospectus, proposing to run an atmospheric-powered broad gauge line from the Exminster pumping station, across the canal and crossing the River Exe on a 14-span viaduct to Topsham, and thence to Exmouth.

The engineer of the line was W. R. Galbraith and the contractor for Topsham to Exmouth was James Taylor of Exeter, for the sum of £39,000. Not without setbacks, the line was completed and inspected by Colonel Yolland of the Railway Inspectorate on 27 April 1861, and the line opened on 1 May 1861. The first train was pulled by the 2-2-2 Beattie well tank no. 36 Comet.

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