Plymouth Friary Railway Station
Plymouth Friary railway station was the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) terminus in Plymouth, Devon, England. The station was closed in the 1970's and has been replaced by houses and a retail park. You can still see a small part of the track. We have waypointed this if you want to take a look from the bridge.
A Little History
London and South Western Railway trains first arrived at Plymouth on 17 May 1876, entering the town from the east. To get there trains had travelled over the company's line as far as Lydford railway station, then over the Great Western Railway (GWR) Launceston branch via Tavistock and the South Devon main line to Mutley. They then continued over the new Cornwall Loop Viaduct (now known as Pennycomequick Viaduct) and a short section of the Cornwall Railway before reaching the company's line to Devonport station. A new joint LSWR and GWR station at Plymouth North Road, a short distance to the west of Mutley, was opened on 28 March 1877.
Friary Goods Station had opened on 1 February 1878 at the end of a short branch from Friary Junction near Laira on the GWR's Sutton Harbour branch. On 22 October 1879 an extension was opened through a short tunnel beneath Exeter Street to North Quay on Sutton Harbour, from where wagon turntables allowed access to Sutton Wharf and Vauxhall Quay. A reversal at Friary allowed access to another branch to Cattedown, although this was not completed until 1888.
The LSWR established a route to Plymouth independent of the GWR on 1 June 1890, when the Plymouth, Devonport and South Western Junction Railway (PDSWJ) was opened from Lydford to Devonport. For a short while LSWR trains terminated at North Road, but on 1 July 1891 a new passenger terminus station was opened at Friary. The station was close to the eastern side of the town centre, facing onto Beaumont Road but also with an entrance from Exeter Street. There were four platform lines serving two platforms.A goods shed was situated to the south of the station, the side nearest Exeter Street.
On 5 September 1892 a line was opened across the river Plym to Plymstock, and was extended to Turnchaple on 1 January 1897.The GWR also served Plymstock from a direct line from Millbay via Laira en route to Yealmpton, but from 3 November 1941 until 7 October 1947 GWR trains ran from Friary to Yealmpton.
Passenger services were withdrawn on 15 September 1958 after which it became the city's main goods depot, allowing the space at Millbay to be used for carriage storage. General goods traffic ceased from 5 May 1963 but a freight concentration depot was built in 1966. The main station building was demolished in 1976 and the remaining freight traffic was eventually moved out to Tavistock Junction.
The station site has been covered in houses and large retail units, but a track still comes as far as Tothill Road where a loop and siding is still in use to allow trains to reverse on their way to Cattedown. The station master's house on the corner of Beaumont Road and Tothill Road is now a doctor's surgery