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The Plym Valley Railway is part of the closed South Devon and Tavistock Railway near Plymouth, a branch line of the Great Western Railway in Devon.
The Plym Valley Railway is currently rebuilding the 0.75-mile (1.21 km) Marsh Mills to Plym Bridge section of the line. The line is being re-created in 1950s to early 1960s period, preserving steam and diesel locomotives, carriages, wagons and other rolling stock, buildings, machinery and equipment of historic railway interest.
The PVR is located just off the A38 Marsh Mills junction, Plymouth. Follow the brown tourist signs from Marsh Mills roundabout, or follow the signs for Coypool Park and Ride. Parking is available in the P&R carpark opposite the railway on Sundays.
The Plym Valley Railway have constructed a new platform north of the site of the original Marsh Mills station. The trackbed through the original Marsh Mills station is still occupied by the line that serves the Marsh Mills china clay plant. The new Marsh Mills platform includes a shop, buffet and small museum.
Train rides are operated on numerous Sundays throughout the year. The railway successfully opened an extension of its line to passengers in May 2008. Trains now operate over 0.75 miles (1.2 km) of track to Lee Moor crossing, the site where the 4 ft 6 in (1,372 mm) gauge Lee Moor Tramway (now occupied by a cycle path) crossed the standard gauge branch on the level.
A new line from Marsh Mills to Lee Moor was opened in 1856, in part to replace the old Plympton branch of the Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway. Two inclines were worked by stationary engines. The lower one, at Cann Wood, was worked by the descending wagons hauling up the ones travelling in the opposite direction, while the upper incline, at Torreycombe, was provided with water tanks that could be used to counterbalance heavy wagons being taken up the slope. The tramway crossed the Tavistock line on a level crossing near Marsh Mills and trains then continued to Plymouth along the old Cann Quarry line and original Plymouth and Dartmoor track. This entailed another level crossing of the South Devon main line between the Embankment Road and Laira engine sheds.
Lines ran from Lee Moor to both Wotter and Cholwich Town but these closed in 1900 and 1910 respectively. In the 1940s road transport took over most of the traffic and a pipeline was laid from Lee Moor to Marsh Mills in 1947 to carry china clay in slurry form, thus depriving the tramway of most of its purpose. A very limited traffic was carried until 1961 to maintain the tramway’s rights of way.
The extended line incorporates three stone bridges which have been rebuilt by the line's volunteers, two of which cross the Cann Quarry canal. Construction of a new level crossing with traditional wooden gates has been completed where the Plym Valley cycle path crosses the railway. Beyond the level crossing further track has been laid and work continues in rebuilding the line to Plymbridge Halt.
The 0-4-0ST steam locomotive "Albert" returned to service in December 2007 after receiving major repairs to its boiler. Albert has operated on all passenger trains and diesel No. 13002 has been used regularly on engineering trains. In 2009 preparation work commenced on returning 0-6-0ST "Byfield" to steam, seeing the locomotive stripped down to its main components for assessment.
The 4 ft 6 in (1,372 mm) gauge line was proposed from Crabtree, on Plym estuary east of Plymouth, to Princetown by Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt to facilitate the development of Dartmoor. An Act of Parliament passed on 2 July 1819 authorised the work, and a second one on 8 July 1820 provided for an extension at the Plymouth end to Sutton Pool. The first section, from Crabtree (at Laira) to King’s Tor (below Princetown), was opened on 26 September 1823. The extension to Sutton Pool was opened towards the end on 1825, and the remainer of the line into Princetown was in use the following year. In 1829 a branch was opened to connect with the Cann Quarry Canal, and this was extended to both the quarry itself and Plympton five years later.
The Old School Guest House