Friday, 27 June 2014

Black Forest in Devon

Huge thanks to Clive Schneidau who did all the research on this very obscure line and has kindly allowed me to use his material and pictures. 

The Black Forest or Mamhead Railway started at Starcross Junction. Built in 1918 as a military timber line it ran for the most part directly on the road surface. Little mentioned and leaving no traces it is now a forgotten ghost. Even the local museum has no records of it, just blank faces. It closed in 1919 and was lifted soon after. The locomotive that ran on it was finally sold to Exeter Gasworks in 1923. The Line was worked by Italian and German POWs and a camp was situated just below Black Forest Lodge.

The original 19th C. Starcross Signalbox was in need of updating when the government agreed to the new line, so the G.W.R. modestly updated it at their expense. Of a total £909 spent on the junction, £650 was spent on a new Box, the old one had enough spare levers.

Starcross Junction Plan.

The Pumping House Yard at Starcross. The 1918 line junction was just by the white building and led down onto the road surface. Looking towards Cockwood.

Route Plan.

Laid by the side of the road. When trains ran on the line, the roads were closed by using civil and military police.


  1. Thanks for this interesting history. I've posted a link on

  2. Luvly story. Have posted link on

  3. Interesting - had never heard of it