Tidmouth Docks Authority
The expansive port facilities at Tidmouth are operated by the Tidmouth Docks Authority. The TDA was formed in 1915 when massive investment was made to create a safe haven for trans-Atlantic shipping in the face of the U-Boat threat. The port facilities were doubled in size, including the construction of a shipyard.
Investment continued after the 1918 armistice, with the NWR being a key stakeholder.
With the opening of the Peel Godred Aluminium Works in the 1920s, a bauxite processing plant was constructed at Tidmouth. Bauxite arrives by sea and by rail and is processed into Alumina for onward transit to Peel Godred.
Also opening in the ‘roaring 20s’ was the Ocean Liner Terminal for trans-atlantic voyages, as well as shorter trips to Douglas and Belfast. This art deco building included an enclosed train shed allowing passengers to disembark from their vessel and step straight onto one of the NWR’s regular boat trains.
The TDA operated using its own internal user rolling stock and locomotives from the start, as well as hosting wagons from the NWR and LMS (later BR), a motley collection of wagons could be found in the docks area, mostly accumulated second-hand.
East of Tidmouth Station itself is the yard where outbound trains from the docks were assembled. This complex of sidings was accessed by a line burrowing under the station throat. The sharp curved gradient up to the main line often necessitated a banking engine to assist goods trains out of the docks, either one of the TDA’s locos or quite often the massive NWR 2-8-4T No.700.