Ashburton, Newton and South Devon Railway large letterhead re meeting 1846
A group of local promoters came up with a plan to link Ashburton to Newton Abbot and in 1848 a Bill for a ten and a half mile branch called the Ashburton, Newton and South Devon Railway received Royal Assent. The great Isambard Kingdom Brunel was asked to be the engineer for the line. But with the economy in recession, the plan was dropped.
Eventually another scheme, also to be built to Brunel's broad gauge of 7’01/4”, along the river Dart linking up with the South Devon Railway at Totnes was agreed upon and the line opened on 1st May 1872 as the Buckfastleigh, Totnes and South Devon Railway: the line was originally planned not to link with Ashburton.