N.B. There are photographs of a visit to the East Cornwall Minerals Railway at the end of this section.
Credits, Many thanks to all contributors - please see a list on the home page.
Callington 7th November 1959. Its a dull November day as 30183 arrives in the train shed at the station. Doors open and shadowy figures move on the platform. The train will be shunted out to allow the engine to run round on the loop in the yard. (See the first picture in the gallery below) Copyright Mike Roach
Hingston Down Quarry. A loop and siding served this location - date of removal unknown. However here are the quarry buildings.
North of Gunnislake
The line between Callington and Gunnislake was closed on the 7th November 1966 and lifted with effect from the 7th June 1967,
This smashing view of Gunnislake station taken when the branch was very much in use is courtesy the Mike Morant Collection. Note the large number of vans and wagons in the yard. Just one car and a motorcycle combination are the only evidence of private transport other than a bicycle leaning on the station wall. If living in Gunnislake village the cyclist would have had to face a stiff climb up and a dangerous descent down.
A shot of the low bridge over the A390 as a Bere Alston bound train heads away from the well signposted Gunnislake station. The warning of the 12' 4" high bridge ahead is extremely close to the very nasty obstacle. One hopes that there were earlier warnings. Copyright Sid Sponheimer. The centre of Gunnislake is nigh on a mile away down a very steep hill.
Gunnislake in the springtime. The passing loop here was taken out of use on the closing of the line beyond this point wef 7th November 67. The very small signalbox which lies by the buffers at the left hand side of the picture was closed 5th May 1968. The sidings, just visible on the bottom right, were taken out of use 2nd Aug 68. Copyright Sid Sponheimer
Ron Kosys visited Gunnislake twice on railrovers the first time in 1971 the second time a year later.
Gunnislake became a terminus on 7 November 1966, the service to Callington railway station having closed the previous Saturday. The original station was on the west side of the road bridge (Seen above) but in 1994 it was replaced by a new station on the east (Calstock) side which has allowed the low (12 feet – 3.6m) bridge to be demolished.
The old bridge in its last days
- The new Gunnislake station
Sandyway Level Crossing. An open crossing requiring all traffic to 'Stop, look and proceed' Situated on a steady gradient up rowards Gunnislake.
Calstock Church Cutting. Between Sandyway Crossing and Okeltor crossing the lines passes around the shoulder of the hill in a deep cutting close by Calstock Church.
Okeltor Level Crossing. An open crossing situated on a steep gradient, on a tight bend, under trees. Trains and road vehicles were required to 'Stop and Proceed' here. The road crossing is also on a steep gradient and at at 'Tee' junction. Rail traction finds this a very difficult place at which to get restarted with up trains.
Okeltor level crossing during a period when the line between Calstock and Gunnislake was closed to permit the reconstruction of Gunnislake station on its new site. The closure was for twelve weeks from 31st January 1994. This picture, looking down the line towards Calstock, was taken on 5th February 1994. Copyright Roger Winnen
A sign of the times!! Four different signs at Calstock - all captured on the same day. Not a complaint - an attractive feature. Pictures by John Cornelius Copyright
Calstock viaduct is out of picture to the left. In the foreground can be seen the river Tamar. Looking closely, in the centre of the picture can be seen a mixed train climbing away towards Okeltor Crossing (just around the bend) The exposed nature of the line here afforded fine views of the viaduct and the river. Unfortunately, in recent years modern bunglows and houses have appeared lineside, their inhabitants, not being rail enthusiasts have sought to block our their view of the train with trees!!! Copyright Sid Sponheimer
N.B. The double track main line between here and Okehampton closed 6th May 1968. For a while Gunnislake trains continued to use the old route on the outside of the island platform until the junction with the main line was moved to form a single line connection with the singled former main line to the south of the station. The signalbox closed on the same date 7th September 1970. It is amusing to note that on one occasion in June 1970 there was a dispute at Plymouth and as a result a refusal to split a train of DMU's. As a result an unusually long train went to Gunniskake - certainly six coaches possibly nine!
Lots to see in this shot. Calstock village clings to the slopes on the Cornish side of the Tamar. This picture is taken from the Devon side near Bere Alston. Beyond the viaduct lies Cotehele Estate, and the triangular Propect Tower. Kit Hill momument stands atop the 1095' high hill - the highest in the Tamar area. 153 318 can be seen crossing Calstock Viaduct forming the 10.54 Plymouth to Gunnnislake. The Callington line climbed the contours of Kit hill to the terminus at Kelly Bray which lay almost directly beyond Kit Hill at a lower level. 25th March 2016 Copyright Ron Westwater
EAST CORNWALL MINERALS RAILWAY
Boat trip down the Tamar and up the Lynher rivers On the 23rd July 1994 the Cornwall Railway Society chartered a boat from Calstock to Plymouth. Before joining the boat we walked from Gunnislake to Calstock Quay. On route we, with permission, walked down the private Calstock incline of the East Cornwall Minerals Railway. On joining the boat the skipper asked where we wanted to go, although our requested route had been advised in writing beforehand. More pictures taken on this trip appear on the Plymouth to Okehampton section.
Other pictures taken from the boat of the Tavy viaduct will be found in the Plymouth to Okehampton section.
More on the East Cornwall Minerals Railway
Attached is a photo of Calstock Incline which I obtained recently. I don't think the photo is particularly rare, but I've been trying to work out what the object is in the lower centre. It looks to me to be similar to an Hornby Dublo point lever! But it would probably take the world's strongest man to operate it! Any ideas? Regards Alan Harris. Many thanks Alan
Calstock Incline ECMR From the Alan Harris Collection This picture is typical of the era with the camera being the novelty. Here we see seven men and a horse having stopped work to pose. Also note a wagon on the incline. What would have happened if the rope snapped!! You can only see part way up the incline here - it curved around to the right and continued to climb. Lime Kilns lay off to the left.
You will find it well worth your while if you visit the 25" to the mile map available below.The map which is pre 1908 shows the E.C.M.R. to its full extent, follow it up the incline and on to Kelly Bary and see the various quarries and sidings. You will also notice various earthworks having been commenced for the standard gauge branch line. The piers of the Calstock viaduct are incomplete as is the formation leading to it. Click below for the map.