Overnight Running at 2019 Steam Gala


We are delighted to announce that there will be overnight running on Saturday 6 into Sunday 7 April 2019 as part of the Golden Anniversary Steam Gala!

Steam will operate between Buckfastleigh at Totnes continuously from 10am on Saturday until 6pm on Sunday.

As part of this there will be some good opportunities for night-time photography on the line (from public areas) and also on the shed, where, in the evening, supervised groups of photographers will be able to take photos of the engines from within the yard and running shed area. More details of this will be announced later.

Food will be available overnight to keep everyone’s energy up, and ticket options to allow visitors from either the day before or the day after to take part in the overnight trains are detailed below.

2019 Golden Anniversary Tickets

Direct link to Overnight Tickets page

More details of the 2019 Golden Anniversary Steam Gala

Overnight Tickets:

  • Saturday (6 April) rover tickets are valid until 7pm on Saturday 6 April.
  • Sunday (7 April) rover tickets are valid from 7am Sunday 7 April.
  • Passengers wishing to ONLY travel on the overnight trains, from 7pm Saturday 6 April to 8am Sunday 7 April, may purchase an ‘overnight only’ ticket for £15.
  • A discount for holders of Saturday tickets, who may extend their ticket to be valid until 8am Sunday 7 April, by purchasing an ‘overnight supplement’ for a reduced rate of £7.50. (Please show BOTH your Saturday ticket and your overnight supplement to the ticket inspector.)
  • A discount for holders of Saturday tickets, who may extend their ticket to be valid from 7pm Saturday 6 April, by adding an ‘overnight supplement’ for a reduced rate of £7.50. (Please show BOTH your Sunday ticket and your overnight supplement to the ticket inspector.)
  • Passengers with a Saturday rover ticket AND a Sunday rover ticket (ie a two-day rover, or two one-day rovers, etc) may travel overnight at no extra cost, ie, from the start of the service on Saturday to the end of the service on Sunday. (Please show BOTH your Saturday and Sunday tickets to the ticket inspector.)

2019 Golden Anniversary Steam Gala Tickets on Sale


Some early tickets for 2019’s steam gala are now on sale!

6-14 April 2019 will be a very special gala to mark 50 years since the preservation of the line with nine fantastic days of steam in the Valley of the River Dart. See our website for full details of this exciting event.

There will be visiting locomotives (1450 and 6430 already confirmed, more to follow!) as well as SDR home fleet, a grand re-opening ceremony re-enactment with celebrity guest, a re-enactment of first trains, locomotive parade, dining options for breakfast, lunch and evening meals, footplate experience, drive-a-train experience, SDR Association Day, re-union for all former staff and volunteers, heritage buses, 7¼” railway and much much more!

Tickets are available now, including multi-day rovers.

We are pleased to say that the round trip is priced at the ‘normal’ (ie, £9 for children, £16 for adults, £15 for senior citizens, £45 for a family). Rovers tickets are also available and are valid all day on the stated date/s (does not have to be consecutive) for anything between 1 and 4 days, then a “5+ Day” rover is valid for ALL NINE DAYS of the gala!

  • Joint tickets with Totnes Rare Breeds Farm and/or Otters & Butterflies available at normal prices. Valid for one round trip on the train.
  • Children age 0-2 travel free.
  • Tickets for members, shareholders, etc, are available by ringing up to book (not online).
  • HRA passes, BR Priv, SDR Free Travel Vouchers NOT valid on this event.
  • Working members of other heritage railways with which we have reciprocal travel arrangements pay the SDR members’ fare.

We look forward to seeing you there!

1450 Confirmed for 50th Anniversary Celebrations



We are delighted to announce that GWR Collett 0-4-2T no 1450 will be visiting the SDR in April 2019 as part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations!

Originally numbered 4850, the loco was built in 1935 to lot number 288 and first entered service at Oxford in July 1935. She was re-numbered 1450 by the GWR in 1946 and re-allocated to Slough in April 1951. A return to Oxford in September 1959 was followed by further re-allocations to Exeter (July 1962), Taunton (November 1963) and Yeovil Town (October 1964) before a final move to Exmouth Junction in February 1965. 1450 was finally withdrawn from service by BR in May 1965, after a working life totalling 823,012 miles.

1450 spent her early life in preservation at our line (the then Dart Valley Railway). She was eventually purchased from here and re-located to the Dean Forest Railway, and then the Severn Valley Railway in March 2014. Over the winter of 2017-18 the loco was returned to GWR livery, for the remainder of its current boiler ticket.

1450 is often paired with the same owner’s autocoaches, nos 178 and 238, which are also resident on the SVR. We are delighted to say that chocolate-and-cream liveried no 178 will be joining 1450 at the SDR for the duration of its visit, brining us a step closer to the ambition to operate a 4-coach auto train as part of the 2019 celebrations!

1450 will be joining 6430 from Llangollen, as well as the SDR home fleet. Keep your eyes glued to SDR news for further announcements in future!

Thank you to everyone who has worked hard to arrange the attendance of 1450 to the SDR, including our friends at the Severn Valley, and we are all looking forward to seeing 1450, a loco with a lots of SDR heritage, at Buckfastleigh next year!

[Photo above by Rob Sherwood at 1450’s last visit to the SDR.] Text edited from SVR Wiki

First Visiting Locomotive of 2019 Golden Anniversary Gala Announced

We are delighted to announce, thanks to our friends at the Llangollen Railway, that 6430 is the first confirmed visiting locomotive for the Golden Anniversary Steam Gala, 6-14 April 2019!


Above: 6412 hauls 6430 across Exeter West Junction on their way to the Dart Valley Railway in June 1966.

* * *

6430 was built at Swindon in 1937 and spent most of its working life in South Wales. It was withdrawn from its final shed, Yeovil, in October 1964 and sold to John Cashmore Ltd as scrap, but immediately re-sold to the Dart Valley Railway as a source of spares for 6412 and 6435. It was towed to Buckfastleigh by 6412 in June 1966.

Throughout much of its time on the Dart Valley Railway, 6430 was out of sight, painted in red oxide primer, which turned progressively more pink with age and wear. Eventually, with no hope of her being restored, she was put up for sale. It was bought in 1990 and spent some time undergoing restoration at Long Marston MOD depot, along with 5199, before moving to Llangollen in 1996.

The loco had unfortunately lost many parts to other engines. Repairs to its cracked cylinder blocks were tackled by the SVR during 1996, and new pannier tanks were fabricated and fitted at Llangollen. Manufacture of new axleboxes and re-wheeling took place in April 1998. New motion parts, coupling and connecting rods were cast and machined to size, whilst other parts were found elsewhere and purchased. A major problem was the badly corroded state of the boiler, which necessitated a completely new boiler barrel being made and fitted to the existing smokebox and firebox.

6430 first moved under its own steam came in December 2003. Work to finish of the locomotive continued, and it undertook a successful trial run along the whole length of the Llangollen Railway in February 2004.

Source: https://preservedbritishsteamlocomotives.com/6430-2/

We all look forward to greeting 6430 next year!

Ashburton Branch Reunion

A grand reunion for everyone who has worked on the Ashburton Branch, at any point in its history, is being held at Buckfastleigh on Saturday 13 April 2019!

If you have worked as a volunteer or employee of any of the South Devon Railway companies or associated groups, the Dart Valley Railway, British Railways, or even the GWR, and you worked on or in connection with this branch at any time, you are invited to our reunion and we would love to see you there!

The reunion is being held during our golden anniversary steam gala, which promises a lot of steam locomotives, including some ‘old friends’ from the history of the line.

You can catch up with former friends and colleagues and see how the branch has developed and progressed in preservation.

There will be DISPLAYS and artefacts relating to the the Ashburton Branch and its history.

You can then take a special REUNION TRAIN TRIP to Totnes and back to re-acquaint yourself with the line.

There will then be a HOG ROAST and a BAR at Buckfastleigh in the evening, followed by some light entertainment.

The event opens at 1pm, with the special train running at approximately 4pm, returning at approximately 5.30pm, with the hog roast starting at approximately 6pm (exact times TBA with the railway timetable is finalised). The bar will be open all day.

Up to three members of your family or guests are also welcome to accompany you.

There is no fee to attend this reunion event, but donations will be gratefully received at the hog roast. Attendees may ride the special reunion train for free, as a thank you for all your help in the operation of the branch over the years. (If you wish to ride on other trains during the day you will need to purchase a ticket at the prevailing rate.)

Attendees are asked to pre-register in order to enable us to plan appropriate food, trains, etc, by one of the following methods:
emailing us
– by Facebook message
– by telephoning us on 01364 644 370

Please include your telephone number, email address, and how many people you will be brining.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Golden Anniversary Diesel Gala Announced



The SDR is looking forward to hosting its diesel gala this November (2nd-4th November 2018), and is delighted to announce a SECOND diesel gala into the programme!

The SDR Golden Anniversary Diesel Gala will be held on 19-21 July 2019.

This is a great opportunity for SDR Diesel Galas as it has been experimentally moved to a summer date!

Watch this space for more details as they become available!

SDR 2019 Steam Gala – An Event not to be Missed!

We are delighted to announce that the Golden Anniversary Steam Gala will be held on 6-14 April 2019.

SDR staff are coming up with a lot of fantastic ideas for how this should operate, and it is really great that the programme is being driven by the volunteer community!

There promises to be lots of engines, lots of trains and lots of quirks!

More news soon…

SDR 2019 Logo Required!

A logo is required for the branch to use to celebrate its 50th anniversary! The logo will be used in place of the normal SDR logo on all publicity and printed materials throughout 2019.

Several people around the railway have put their thinking caps on to see what they can come up with as a design, and as so many people are now interested, we thought it would be a good idea to open it to everyone!

This is a really very rare opportunity to make your mark on a significant heritage railway anniversary year – a year which, from the suggestions received so far into what a celebration gala should contain, looks like it will be one of the biggest SDR events ever!

Designs submitted can make use of the SDR splasher logo or the SDR shirtbutton roundel if desired. The logo should ideally make the ’50’ or ‘fiftieth’ prominent.

Other symbols etc representing the branch or the SDR are also welcome.

The logo needs to be clear, easy-to-recognise, and present a positive image of the SDR.

Expensive clever computer software is not required, as the chosen logo will be sent to a design company to be professionally made up in any case. Submissions of design concepts are welcome, or paper hand-drawn designs, or computer designs too.

There is no limit to the number of designs a person may submit, and this is open to everyone, both internally and externally to the SDR.

If you would like to submit one or more designs, please send these to Danny Scroggins by the end of March. The logo design chosen will be announced later in the year.

Small print: Please note that, by submitting a design, you are donating that design, including copyright, to the SDRT. The SDR may use it in any way, without limitation on use or time. The author of the logo will be acknowledged when the chosen design is announced, but not credited on each specific use of it.

2019 – Golden Anniversary Year

2019 is the 50th anniversary of the re-opening of the Ashburton Branch – and we are sure everyone would like to see a big celebration of that golden anniversary in 2019!

We are starting to plan the 2019 operating season now, and would be keen to hear views and ideas of how to celebrate the 50th anniversary year.

There are many ways in which the celebrations could take place – various galas, engines, timetables, methods of working, off-railway events, activities, etc.

So let us know your ideas by contacting us via any of the usual methods.

Although we can’t promise to do everything, we think everyone will share the SDR appetite and aspiration to do something really memorable.

Everything is ‘up for grabs’, so see what the most exciting thing you can come up with is to put the SDR’s 50th anniversary well-and-truly on the railway preservation calendar!