A visit to the LSWR/GWR arch, Tavistock


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A lively, amateur enthusiast’s look at what there is left to see at this fascinating and significant disused railway site near Tavistock in Devon in February 2012.

Before closure, two railway companies ran competing train services up this valley with tracks literally side by side for a distance of about 6 miles between Tavistock and Lydford. This is clearly visible at the one point where the two lines crossed, highlighting the delightful lunacy that pervaded during the railway boom years.

The first company to lay tracks down this valley was the Great Western and their’s was a single track branch line, presumably broad gauge in the early days. Coming later was the London South West mainline, a twin track, which travelled over the GWR line at this point, which is the reason this vast skew bridge was built.

This short film shows views from both sides of the granite arch at GWR track level, a walk through the tunnel and views from various directions across the top at LSWR level, appreciating the sheer size of the structure. See also the large, twin bore culverts carrying the River Burn under the embankment just next to the arch. Long distance views along the track beds can be seen to the north towards Lydford along the LSWR and to the south towards Tavistock on the GWR (achievable due to filming in winter with minimal leaf cover).

A stunning testament to the engineering of the day which shows no sign of deterioration, is awkward to get to and is invisible on Google Earth, is yours to see up close here.

The photo used in this listing is an actual still taken from the footage.

Includes constant well informed commentary.

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