Spitfire attending 1940s Festival – 7 & 8 July

HOT OFF THE PRESS!

1940s Festival (7 & 8 July)

We are pleased to announce that a full size replica Spitfire will be attending our ‘South Devon 1940s Festival’ on the 7 & 8 July!

The Spitfire is modelled on EN398 which was the Personal Aircraft of British Flying Ace W/Cdr Johnny Johnson D.F.C. It has a complete original cockpit and a working WWII Rolls Royce engine which you will be able to hear start up at regular intervals throughout the event.

Pre book your tickets for this event.

A Right Royal Train Ride

Local people and holiday visitors alike are being encouraged to take their own “Royal” low-cost steam train ride with the South Devon Railway (SDR) this coming week on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 May and help celebrate the nation’s forthcoming Royal Wedding with a discounted railtrip along the beautiful Dart Valley, which itself has its very own private and secret wartime connection with the Royal Family (see below).

On Friday 18th May, which will be Prince Harry’s last day as a single man, visitors can travel on the scenic, seven-mile line between Buckfastleigh and Totnes all day for the price of just a SINGLE ticket.

And on Saturday 19th May for the actual Royal Wedding day, visitors can have two tickets for the price of just one. The offer only applies to full price round trip fares. And, if the two tickets chosen are not the same price, you pay for the most expensive one and get the cheaper one free e.g. an adult and a child will travel for £15 which is the adult fare, so the child goes free.

The offer is available on line, or on-the-day at our booking offices.

(There are no further reductions on already discounted fares, such as Family and joint tickets with the Totnes Rare Breeds Farm and Dartmoor Otters & Buckfast Butterflies.)

THE SOUTH DEVON RAILWAY’S ‘ROYAL MILE’ – A CONNECTION WITH THE PAST!

Between the South Devon Railway’s (SDR) Staverton and Totnes Riverside stations, the river Dart runs very close to the scenic line as the line enters a series of bends.

At one point is a shallow cutting and it is here that, during the last war (World War II), an air raid shelter was dug into the embankment on the left hand side, close to a place now called Woodville by railway folk.

This out-of-the-way shelter was there to protect His Majesty King George VI on his visits to the West Country.

The lower part of the secluded SDR branch line, connected at Totnes to one of the two main rail routes to the West, was an ideal place to hide a train secretly and quietly, being hardly overlooked at all.

So, it was used to stable the Royal Train overnight so that the Royal passengers could then get a peaceful night’s sleep but, in case of a German air raid attack, precautionary measures were taken, such as building the shelter.

Thankfully, they were never used but, on a visit in 1941, the King missed a major air raid in nearby Plymouth by a mere 24 hours. It’s also believed that General Eisenhower’s private train was stabled down there prior to D-Day.

The line is very close indeed to the River Dart, so it is bounded by water on one side and a steep rock cliff
topped by a wood, known to the locals as Parsonage Wood.

On the opposite bank can be seen the grounds of Dartington Hall whose buildings might just be seen amongst the trees.

After passing an old platelayers’ hut and a private waterworks road crossing, the next mile of track is quite straight and is well known as the ‘Royal Mile’ because it was also used as the peacetime stabling point for the Royal Train’s overnight stops when the Royal family were either visiting the area or the nearby Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth!

And, the SDR is hosting another popular show over the May Bank Holiday weekend with its Spring Beer Festival event.

Diesel Service this Saturday


Our public trains this Saturday 12 May will be hauled by a heritage diesel locomotive. Steam locomotive 6412 will be in operation on other services. (This is due to a mechanical problem with L92.)

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!

Visit our 1940s Weekend

Welcome to the South Devon Railway 1940s Weekend!

The festival has been held at Buckfastleigh Station for many years. The show has grown and developed greatly and now boasts a large amount of displays, vehicles, trade stands, entertainment and atmosphere that you won’t find anywhere else!

The Devon Area Military Vehicle Trust (MVT) will once again be building camp in the grounds of Buckfastleigh Station. There will be around 50 military vehicles including lorries, Jeeps and motorbikes for you to look over for the duration of the weekend. Quality trade stands of both Military and Civilian clothing and curios will provide you with the chance to acquire a lasting memento of your day.

Civilian vehicles will be represented with a small display beside the military camp. Cars and Lorries were often commandeered for the war effort and were used for the Home Guard and other groups assisting the needs of the country. Modifications such as headlamp shrouds and white lines being painted on the wings were carried out, with no consideration to the vehicles prestige or value, for the purposes of blackouts during an air-raid.

Formed by historic military vehicle enthusiasts, the MVT has grown into one of the largest military vehicle preservation groups in existence with branches worldwide and a membership of thousands.

The Devon Area has members who share the aims of the Trust which was established for the purpose of restoring and preserving military vehicles of historical interest and the preservation of books, drawings, records, documents, sound and visual recordings, films, photographs and other media and ephemera relating to such vehicles, their history and development, and promoting and encouraging the same aim in others.

Staverton Bridge – US Army Camp

Alight at Staverton and visit the U.S. troops that have set up their temporary Training Camp alongside the station. This camp is being used to train the troops for what could be expected at Normandy, soon to be known as “D-Day”.

Make sure you pay attention as the troops will be on hand to explain the requirements of an assault course and give instructions on detecting mines.

A small selection of vehicles have been made available to the camp for training purposes but troops are having to rely on train services for the provision of supplies.

Food, Drink & Entertainment

Refreshments are available at all of our stations and even on some of our trains! Why not try some of the local produce on offer or even take home some Devon fudge as a memento of your day.

A Bar is available by the Entertainment Marquee, as well as on some of our trains, and will be serving a selection of Beers, Ciders and Wine.

Our Entertainment Marquee will be home to quality live performances throughout the day where you can sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of the fabulous forties.

Music was often used during the war to provide a morale-boosting atmosphere at times of dismay and hardship. Therefore, tunes were generally very memorable and upbeat so as to encourage mass sing-alongs and camaraderie.

Rail Timetable

This timetable can also be downloaded as a PDF.

Tickets

Entry to the 1940s Festival is free to those who have purchased a ticket to travel on the South Devon Railway for that day. There is a fee, payable on the day, of £5 per Adult and £3 per child for those wishing to visit the festival field only.

Tickets for the South Devon Railway entitle you to all day travel on any of our trains and includes entry to the festival. They will be available to purchase on the day or you can buy them in advance here.

Sample of fares:
Adult £15.00
Senior Citizen (65 and over) £14.00
Child £9.00 (3 years – 15 years)
Children under 3 – FREE)
Family £43.00 (two adults and two children)

Joint fares are also available with the Rare Breeds Farm at Totnes and Dartmoor Otters & Buckfast Butterflies at Buckfastleigh.

Full details of fares.

Save the Date – 6-14 April 2019

We said that there would be some big plans afoot for 2019, which is a big year for the SDR as it marks the 50th anniversary of the preservation of the branch… More news will be available soon, but in the meantime, if you’re a fan of steam, save this date…!

Spring Sale Extended!


Book your ticket online and enjoy a steam train ride along the Dart Valley from 9 April at a reduced fare. A limited number of discounted adult, senior and child round trip tickets are available through our ticket website. Enter the discount code “spring” at the checkout to obtain this offer. (This offer is not available for travel on Sundays and only applied to round trip tickets booked through our website. Family tickets excluded.)

Take a typical GWR branch line trip on Saturday 21 April when you board one of our “auto trains”. These carriages have extra windows and a driving compartment at one end. Get a great view of the delightful Dart Valley and relive train travel from the 1950s. You’ll be able to see how trains were operated on branch lines when the steam engine driver operated his locomotive using specially designed controls fitted in the passenger carriages.

For all lovers of Diesel locomotives, one of our classic collection will be hauling trains on Saturday 28 April alongside a traditional GWR steam engines. We’ll have two trains running from 10am. Park for free at Buckfastleigh and travel to Totnes enjoying the roar and the power of the locomotives brought into replace steam in the early 1960s. Take a more traditional trip back along the Dart Valley by steam later in the day after lunch. Why not try some of the great tea shops and restaurants in trendy Totnes or even take the half hour walk to Dartington?

Stop press: We have just added five more chances for you to drive a steam or diesel train on the South Devon Railway. Check out our website and book your trip today. Great for that special occasion.