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By J.T. White - 1878.

Sample text from CHAPTER TWENTY :-

' Railway Extension. - The Atmospheric Trial. - The Break-down. - Opposition to any Station being nearer to Torquay than Aller. - The Opening of the Torre Station. - The Procession and Rejoicings. - Brixham Clamouring for an Extension. - A Fish Quay at Livermead proposed. - Suggested Extension to the Harbour. - Commencing the Dartmouth Branch. - Cutting the First Sod by Mr. L. Palk. - Opening of the Line to Torquay and Paignton. - The Monster Pudding at Paignton. - How it was Made. - Its Disastrous Fate. - Pudding by Post. - Rivalry between Torre and Torquay. - Loss of Trade. - The Omnibus Association. - Its Collapse. - Opening the Line to Brixham. Guests Invited to a Fish Dinner, and no Fish. - Telegraphing for a Turbot. - The Reputation of Brixham Saved.

' THE railway to Torquay and Paignton was opened on the 1st of August, 1859; but, before proceeding to give an account of that important event in the history of the town, it is desirable to state a few particulars respecting the progress of the railway system in the district. The South Devon Line was opened from Exeter as far as Newton on the 31st December, 1846, and passengers between that town and Torquay were conveyed by coach. It was originally intended to propel the trains by atmospheric pressure, the first trip by this motive power being made near Exeter in February, 1847; and on the 20th of September a train was taken as far as Teignmouth. While these experiments were being made, the traffic was carried on by the ordinary locomotive steam engine. The atmospheric project, however, failed in actual working, and at a meeting of the shareholders held at Plymouth it was determined to abandon it. A few months afterwards the ponderous tubes were taken up and sold for old iron. The line to Torre was opened for traffic on Monday, December . 18th, 1848, after being vehemently opposed by a few of the inhabitants who were of opinion that if a station for Torquay were erected at Aller, a hamlet between Newton and Kingskerswell, it would meet all the requirements of the town. Happily .the counsels of these anti-railway people did not prevail. The Company had obtained power to continue the line to the bottom of the Upton Valley, at the back of Upton Church, where it was proposed to place the Torquay Eailway Station. The requisite land was bought for that purpose. But Dartmouth and the district around appealed, time after time, for the line to be carried in their direction, and hence it was deemed desirable to stop short at Torre, that being the most convenient point from whence any future extension to Dartmouth could be made. The formal opening of the line to Torre was observed as a holiday ; the poor were feasted, and the inhabitants dined together; to the former were distributed 4,834 pounds of meat and the like quantity of bread, the cost being defrayed by public subscription. A procession of considerable pretension left the Hotel Square at eleven o'clock, and marched along the Strand, Lower Union Street, and Torre, to the Eailway Station, to give a becoming reception to the Directors. Shortly after twelve o'clock the telegraph announced that the train containing the Directors had left Newton, and very little time elapsed before it was seen, decorated with evergreens, flowers, and flags, approaching rapidly down the incline under Chapel Hill. Sir John Buller, who led the procession from Torquay, gave the signal for three hearty cheers as the Directors landed on the platform. The cheers, in the words of the local chronicler of the event, "were echoed by the multitudes on the surrounding hills, assuring the Directors that in Torquay at least they had a cordial welcome, and that the enterprise and exertions of the Company were duly appreciated." A congratulatory address was presented and promptly responded to by Mr. Woollcombe, the Chairman of the South Devon Railway Company. '

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