The first line to reach Mary Tavy was Brunel’s broad gauge railway in 1865 It was the furthest west that the railway had got at the time and was South Devon’s northern extension from Tavistock to Lydford. It then headed west down the Lyd valley to Launceston and beyond. (These early trains ran on track that was just over 7 feet wide. Although designed by Brunel, the railway was run by the South Devon Railway until financial difficulties in 1876 lead to a takeover by the Great Western Railway. Brunel’s broad gauge network was converted in 1892 to run on the narrower ‘standard’ 4ft 8.5 ins gauge introduced by Robert Stevenson.)
A rival railway company, the London and South Western Railway, extended its Okehampton line south to Lydford in 1874, and on to Tavistock and Plymouth in 1876 over the existing Launceston line. Mary Tavy then had two train services. This was only until 1890 when the Okehampton line used a separate new railway from Lydford to Plymouth, which did not have a station between Brentor and Tavistock. Those who wanted to go to Okehampton by train would then have had to change at Lydford where both railway companies had stations.
Note that the station sign reads “Mary Tavy and Blackdown”
Our thanks to Mr Bryan Gibson for supplying additional information and corrections to the article originally posted here
Mary Tavy Station in 1963. Photo – George Cutland