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The Tamar is a river in South West England, that forms most of the border between Devon (to the east) and Cornwall (to the west). At its mouth, the Tamar flows into the Hamoaze where it joins with the River Lynher before entering Plymouth Sound. The river has some 20 road crossings, including some medieval stone bridges, and the Tamar Bridge, a toll bridge on the A38 trunk road and the Royal Albert Bridge (1859), the first crossing of the lower Tamar, both are between Saltash (known as the Gateway to Cornwall) and Plymouth. One of the important road crossings of the Tamar is near Lawhitton at Greystone Bridge: the arched stone bridge was built in 1439.
The Tamar's source is less than 6 km (4 miles) from the north Cornish coast, but it flows southward. North of the source the Cornish border heads to the sea along Marsland Water, making Cornwall nearly an island. The east bank of the Tamar was fixed as the border of Cornwall by King Athelstan in the year 936.
In a few places the border deviates from the river, leaving, for instance, the Devon village of Bridgerule on the 'Cornish' side. The modern administrative border between Devon and Cornwall more closely follows the Tamar than the historic county border. Several villages north of Launceston which are west of the Tamar were actually in Devon until the 1960s.
The Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covers around 195 kmē (75 square miles) around the lower Tamar (below Launceston) and its tributaries the Tavy and the Lynher. It was first proposed in 1963, but was not designated until 1995. Rocks around the edge of Dartmoor were mineralised by fluids driven by the heat, which gave rise to ores containing tin, copper, tungsten, lead and other minerals in the Valley. During the industrial revolution the Tamar was an important river for shipping copper from ports such as Morwellham Quay and New Quay (Devon) to south Wales where it would be smelted.
Tributaries of the river include the rivers Inny, Ottery, Kensey and St Germans or Lynher on the Cornish side, and the Deer and Tavy on the Devon side.
The Tamar Valley Line is a railway line from Devonport in Plymouth Devon, to Gunnislake in Cornwall, United Kingdom. The line follows the River Tamar for much of its route.
The line from St Budeaux to Bere Alston was opened for passenger traffic on 2 June 1890 by the Plymouth, Devonport and South Western Junction Railway (PDSWJ) as part of their line from Lydford to Devonport, which in effect was an extension of the London and South Western Railway's main line from London Waterloo station to Lydford, enabling the LSWR to reach Plymouth independently of the Great Western Railway. The branch to Gunnislake was opened by the PDSWJ on 2 March 1908.
The line used former LSWR O2 Class tank engines as the man form of motive power for many years but in the 1950s newer LMS Ivatt Class 2 2-6-2T engines took over. By 1964 steam had been ousted from the line and DMUs had taken over, working as two-car sets.
Today services are operated by First Great Western using Class 150 or Class 153 diesel multiple units.
Communities served: Plymouth (including the suburbs of Devonport and St Budeaux) Bere Ferrers Bere Alston Calstock Gunnislake
The section between Calstock and Bere Ferrers is on the Bere peninsula, between the river Tamar, and the river Tavy. The most southerly road bridge (the A390) on the peninsula is at Gunnislake, crossing the river Tamar. This means the railway is the quickest way of getting into the city of Plymouth to the south. The line did face closure by the Beeching Axe, however the remaining section of line was saved due to the poor road transportation.
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