Lost Railways of Dartmoor by Chris Bedford (Part 2). The following pictures conclude Chris Bedford's photographic survey from Devon.
Left: A final look at Yelverton Tunnel, this being one of the refuges where gangers could step out of the way of passing trains. Mineral deposits now stain the wall, the colour suggesting that there is plenty of iron in the rocks above. Spring 2010. (Chris Bedford)
Above: The first station out of Yelverton on the branch line to Princetown was Dousland, which is now in use as a residence. The modern extensions cannot disguise the property's railway origins, which are confirmed by the village name in GWR-style lettering, mounted on the facing wall of the platform. Spring 2010. (Chris Bedford)
Right: It has been a long time since anyone at Dousland station had to beware of a train. Despite the passing of the years, the distinctive architecture, the blue engineering bricks along the platform edge and the cast iron signs all proclaim this to have been a former GWR outpost. Spring 2010. (Chris Bedford)
Above: The trackbed of the Princetown branch curves off to the left in the vicinity of Swelltor Quarry. Lumps of granite provide silent testimony to the hard physical graft that used to take place here. Despite the fact that the line gained height by following the contours, some sizeable embankments were still necessary, as can be seen from the example in the foreground. Spring 2010. (Chris Bedford)
Above: Uncollected corbels for London Bridge still litter parts of the quarry site. Brett Sutherland on geograph gives a nice account of these: 'There are various explanations as to why these beautifully cut stones remained behind. They may have been cut too short, have been condemned due to defects in the stone or may have been "wastage" – there are 650 corbels incorporated in the bridge! Whatever the reason, they bear testament to the skill of the stonemasons here. The bridge was sold to a wealthy American in 1968 and now spans Lake Havasu in Arizona. Urban myth has it that he thought he was buying Tower Bridge.' Spring 2010. (Chris Bedford)
Above: After passing Swelltor Quarry, the branch runs on an embankment around the western slopes of King's Tor, which can be seen through the arch. This bridge was almost certainly constructed to allow water draining off of the tor to pass safely under the line. Spring 2010. (Chris Bedford)
Above: The Princetown trackbed in the vicinity of Foggintor Quarry, which (not to be outdone by its neighbour at Swelltor) supplied the granite sections of Nelson's Column. It is sometimes tempting to view the country's remote rural railways and tramways as extravagant wastes of capital, but many of them carried types of traffic which are almost unimaginable on the modern railway. The photographer's motive power lies in the foreground. This would be an 0-1-1 in railway parlance. Spring 2010. (Chris Bedford)
Above: We ought really to finish this selection of Dartmoor railway pictures with a scene of Princetown station, but the building was demolished immediately after the line closed, and today the flattened scene makes for a truly dull picture. By way of compensation, here's a Southern Railway parcels label from Waterloo to Launceston. Trains travelling over this route would have skirted the north of Dartmoor, passing through Okehampton before heading west at Meldon Junction for Halwill Junction and Launceston, which marked the start of the scenic North Cornwall line to Wadebridge. Although the Southern Railway ceased to exist on 1st January 1948, the infant British Railways continued to use old SR parcels labels throughout the 1950s. Member Ron Strutt has informed us that these labels remained in use into the late 1970s if you knew where to look for them – which he did, since he worked in the railway industry! (Jeff Vinter Collection)