When the Dartmouth and Torbay Railway opened on 14 March 1861 it passed over a level crossing on Tanners Lane, which led to the sea at Goodrington. Building the line across the marsh at Goodrington proved difficult but was achieved by laying redundant pipes from the failed atmospheric railway between Exeter and Newton in the ground for drainage.
It was not until 9 July 1928 that a small station, initially known as just "Goodrington", was opened on the Kingswear side of the level crossing. A second platform was added as the double line, which had reached Tanners Lane in 1928, was extended into the station on 4 July 1930. The area between Paignton and Goodrington Sands was then redeveloped with carriage sidings and a new goods depot to allow the restricted site at Paignton to concentrate on the increasing holiday passenger traffic.
The local council opened a public park and boating lake between the station and the beach in 1936. Work started on a bridge to replace the level crossing in 1939, but this was not completed until 1956 due to World War II. At the same time, a new footbridge with a ticket office was opened, from which steps lead down to the platforms. More carriage sidings were laid behind the platform and a 65 feet turntable and locomotive facilities provided, mainly to handle the heavy traffic on summer Saturdays.
The signal box was closed on 1 November 1972, and the line was sold on 30 December 1972 to the Dart Valley Light Railway plc. Services were only run on the Down line (the one nearest the beach) as British Rail continued to use the Up line for access to the carriage sidings.
In 2006 the track through the second platform was reinstated and the carriage sidings behind the platform were connected to the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway. The carriage sidings between Goodrington Sands and Paignton remain in use by Network Rail for main line trains, especially on summer Saturdays, and the section from here to Paignton is worked as two separate single lines with trains running in either direction on each track.
The steam train runs right alongside the beach at Goodrington Sands and the driver and fireman never tire of waving to everyone on the beach as they make their way towards Churston!