Dartmoor Explorations

A collection of walks, discoveries, insights and pictures of exploring Dartmoor National Park

Princetown Station – then and now

The “Then and Now” pictures in this post are around 100 years apart and show Princetown Station from two locations; the south near Soldier’s Pond and from the west. The Princetown branch line was authorised in 1878 and opened on 11th August 1883. The station had a single platform, a passing loop, goods yard, signal box, goods shed, an engine shed for two locomotives, a 180 foot long carriage shed and a turntable (source: Wikipedia). The line was owned by the Princetown Railway until 1st January 1922, the company then merged with the Great Western Railway (there is still a GWR iron plate near the War Memorial on the green). The line closed on 3rd March 1956 and the station buildings were all demolished soon after.

Map from circa 1949, showing the two locations of the ‘then and now’ pictures in this post.
This picture taken from near Soldiers Pond from (probably) early 20th century. The Yelverton / Princetown road passes between the location of the photographer and the station.
The picture can be dated between 1905 and sometime in the 1920’s by virtue of the buildings in Station Road. There were two sets of terraced houses built for branch line staff at Princetown; the first set (now No’s 6-8 Station Road) were built around 1905 and a later set (now No’s 1-4 Station Road) were added in the 1920s (these are not in this picture !). The two sets of terraced houses were located either side of the Stationmaster’s House (now No. 5 Station Road). All the buildings were built just to the north of the site of the platform / passenger station building .
The same location taken in September 2022. The boulder in the foreground and two more behind verify the location between the early 20th century and the early 21st century pictures. The (newer) Station Road Cottages (No’s 1-4) an obvious addition as is the new housing estate and industrial units. The camera location is SX58721 73221
The two pictures approx. 100 years apart. Note St. Michael and All Angels tower is barely visible in 2022.
Old Station Masters House – Now No. 5 Station Road
Picture of Princetown Station from the west, taken in June 1926. The steam locomotive looks like it is numbered 4403. (Note: A picture of 4403, dated June 1926 at Yelverton Station is shown at https://www.oldplymouth.uk/Railways-Yelverton%20Station.htm ). Note the lack of trees !
A view of the old Princetown Station taken in September 2022. The author suspects that the 1926 picture may have been taken from the embankment leading to an overbridge and is of a slightly more elevated position.
The 1926 picture with a cropped 2022 picture. The west side of Station Road cottages (No’s 6-8) are now sheltered by trees. The area where old track bed was is now being used for the grazing of horses.
A superimposed 1926 picture on a 2022 view. The slightly more elevated position of the 1926 picture means the superimposition is slightly compromised.

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