Saltash Heritage and History
Proposed short-cut to Looe
An entirely new route for the GWR to reach Looe was promoted in the 1930's to avoid the Liskeard inter-change which was both slow and expensive to work. This branch was to run from near St Germans via Downderry and Millendreath to Looe, an expensive seven mile route which would have involved at least one lengthy tunnel and two sizable viaducts. Some construction work was done in 1937-38 but nothing further came of the scheme.
The proposed new line to Looe at seven miles was exactly half the distance via Liskeard. Work began on the coastal section in 1937 but was curtailed in 1939 by the war and how much work was accomplished during those two years is not clear.
The branch would have started from a new junction at Trerule Foot two miles west of St Germans and headed SW to join the Seaton Valley just north of Hessenford on the A387. The River Seaton would then have been followed south for two miles to Seaton. The remaining three miles followed the coast westwards, involving the construction of some expensive engineering works. Viaducts were planned at Keveral and Millendreath, tunnels at Hessenford (1 mile), Seaton (1 mile 528 yds) and Looe (700 yds) whilst stations would have been built at Hessenford, Seaton Bridge and Looe.
In 1978 members of the Cornwall Railway Society followed, as best they could, the proposed route in a minibus. All that they found, where would have been the east end of the Millendreath Viaduct, was a small excavation into the steep hillside presumably the start of the cutting leading into Seaton tunnel.
Many thanks to Ralph Rawlinson
Saltash and its history. Saltash Waterside. Saltash Heritage. Training ship Mount Edgcumbe HMS Defiance. Forder