The branch to Torquay originally left the main line in the station area and ran parallel with the Plymouth line for 1 mile (1.6 km) before the latter swung off into the hills at Aller. A proper junction, known as Torquay Junction, was put here on 29 January 1855 as the two single lines had now become part of the double-track line from Newton to Totnes, trains on the single-track Torquay branch running on the correct line between the junction and the station.
In 1874 the branch was extended to the station, running parallel with the Plymouth line as it had done before 1855. There were now three tracks on this section but on 22 May 1876 the branch was doubled as far as Kingskerswell, which meant a fourth track was added. The tracks were (from east to west) down branch, up branch, down main, up main.
In 1914, along with the rebuilding of the station, it was proposed to install a flying junction at Aller to speed up the passage of trains coming off the branch. The plans were shelved due to World War I, but on 24 May 1925 a junction was once again installed where the two lines diverged, now known as Aller Junction. The four tracks were now grouped by direction of travel – down relief, down main, up relief, up main. Trains for either line could use either track between the junction and the station but trains to and from the branch generally used the "relief" lines. This meant that trains coming off the branch had to cross over the line used by trains going towards Plymouth which could cause delays at busy times. The junction was moved during the 1987 resignalling to a new position about 0.5 miles (0.8 km) closer to the station. Trains can now run to and from the branch on a single line connection with their own platform, or cross over to the Plymouth–Exeter tracks on either side of the station as may be convenient.
A private siding was opened on the Torquay branch in 1866 for sand traffic from a nearby pit. It was removed in 1964.
A POTTED HISTORY
This was originally built by the South Devon Railway as a single track to Brunel's 7'1/2" broad gauge. Brunel, in fact, being the engineer for the SDR as well as the GWR. It is believed from slivers of evidence that the SDR was financially supported by the GWR throughout its existance, finally being merged with the GWR just before the London & South Western Railway (L&SWR) reached Plymouth on 20th May 1876. The SDR having also built the Plymouth Tavistock branch which was going to be in direct competion to the GWR.
On 18 December 1848 the branch was opened by the SDR from Newton Abbot to Torquay, this station being the terminus. Later extended see Dartmouth and Torbay Railway. The line was doubled on 26 March 1882 due to passenger volume demand and later along with all SDR and GWR lines was converted to 4' 8&1⁄2" (Standard Gauge as it became known) on 20th May 1892.
The Great Western Railway was nationalised into British Railways on 1 January 1948. The buildings on the second platform were demolished in the 1960s and replaced by a simple brick-built shelter. Goods traffic was withdrawn on 4 December 1967.
SOUTH DEVON RAILWAY
Newton Abbot to Torquay
It was not until 1 July 1853 before a station was eventually opened despite petitions from the residents of Kingskerswell to stop trains at their village, even offering to pay for it themselves. The SDR putting a passing loop to double the train numbers whilst doing so.
The branch had only a single track, but a passing place was provided at Kingskerswell in 1861 to allow more traffic to be handled.
On 19th November 1864 a goods train passed through the station without stopping and collided with a passenger train approaching from Torre, but luckily there were no serious injuries. Another accident occurred on 22 January 1874 when a passenger train going towards Newton Abbot was derailed in the station.
The first signal box was opened in 1883 at the London end of the northbound platform. This was replaced in 1921 by a new three-storey building on that platform. The original signalling used just 16 levers; the new box contained 42.
A second track was laid to Newton Abbot and brought into use on 22 May 1876 along with a second platform at Kingskerswell; the double line was extended to Torquay on 26 March 1882.
The station is situated in a cutting beneath a viaduct carrying a road across the line. The station building was at road level on the west side, with the booking office at first floor level; access to the other platform was by steps from the viaduct. A signal box was situated at the south end of the northbound platform, with a goods siding beyond. The platforms were extended to 600 feet (180 m) in 1911 to allow longer trains to call.
The station closed on 5 October 1964 but the platforms are still clearly visible from passing trains.
A reverse shot of the station in November 2013 as there is no access today to recreate the angle of the picture to the left. Taken from the bridge seen there.
Pictire curtesy of Jane Taylor Photographics
The station had a small extension to the single platform and a train shed built in 1855 but with the opening of the Dartmouth and Torbay Railway, a new platform had to be provided. The original station can still be seen standing alongside the track just north of the platform.
Goods traffic was handled from October 1849. The goods yard was originally at the west end of the station. The original goods shed was destroyed by fire in 1857 and eventually replaced in 1865 by a stone building alongside the railway on the Newton Abbot side of the station. A coal yard was built on the west side of the station.