28 Britannia Crossing and Noss Yard

With autumn approaching, the scout went for a ride round Torbay and carried on over the hill to Britannia Crossing.

The road goes past the entrance to Noss Yard, the former home of Philip & Sons, shipbuilders. It had all changed since the scout and his pals had poked around not that long ago, looking for remains of the extensive rail layout. The bridge over the Kingswear Branch has been widened and a pedestrian bridge installed beside it. The yard, birthplace of P.S. “Kingswear Castle,” alive on the river, and P.S. “Compton Castle,” immured at Truro, is about to be transformed into a rich man’s playpen and is now mostly fenced off.

This line had been within a building and was unseen on the last visit.
The Kingswear Branch originally ran through the yard; two wooden viaducts crossed the creeks on either side. The branch was diverted inland in 1923; the divergences at each end can still be seen from the train. The scout wondered if these wooden piles were remains of the viaducts. +

Noss Yard is private property but everyone comes and goes as they please. Staff didn’t seem bothered that the scout was photographing the siding.

The Kingswear Branch on its original alignment in about 1906. +
And here is the diversion of 1923 showing the abandoned earthworks, the expanded yard and the private siding connection of 1929 The private siding gate can still be seen from the train. +

From the turning to the yard, it’s not far down the hill to the crossing and Higher Ferry, where the scout spent an hour or so watching the comings and goings.

Leaving Britannia, the scout ambled along the path enjoying the late summer sun. Looking down from the footbridge at Kingswear, he wondered what was under the plastic cover on a bogie flat. He later found that it was the engine from P.S. “Compton Castle,” bought as a spare.

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