Visiting loco 41312 welcomed

We are delighted to report that we have a visiting locomotive until 14th October.

Ivatt Class 2MT 2-6-2T No 41312 is visiting us from the Mid Hants Railway.

41312 was once shedded at Barnstaple Junction while working on BR’s Southern Region and this is its first trip back to Devon since those days. It is also the first time a member of this class of locomotive has ever visited our line.

The Ivatt is due to be working every day up to and including 14th October.

41312 was built in May 1952 at Crewe locomotive works and spent her entire working career on the Southern Region of British Railways. The class was nicknamed ‘Mickey Mouse’ tanks as, when Southern Region route indicator discs were placed either side of the smokebox, they looked looked like ears.

41312 was first based at Faversham, then Ashford in June 1959, before being moved to Barnstaple Junction where she worked over the Torrington branch, putting in some appearances on the Ilfracombe and Exeter line.

In March 1963 she was reallocated to Brighton. In 1964 she moved to Bournemouth were she worked over the Swanage and Lymington branches.

41312 performed the last steam service on the Lymington branch in April 1967. The last three months of her career were spent at Nine Elms acting as a station shunter for Waterloo. She was finally withdrawn from service on 3rd July 1967.

Sixty years since the last BR(W) train

The last BR(W) passenger train ran between Ashburton and Totnes and back on the first Saturday in November in 1958.

To mark this 60th anniversary we’re running a special steam hauled service this year on Saturday 3rd November 2018  leaving Buckfastleigh at 1958hrs  (7:58pm) and returning from Totnes at the same time as the last train did 60 years ago.  It’ll arrive in Buckfastleigh at 9:21pm.

Tickets are on sale now through our website at the usual return fare of £15. Simply select Sat November 3rd as your travel date. If you’re visiting us earlier in the day and want to make multiple trips you’ll need a Rover Ticket for our November Diesel Gala.

The railway museum will be open from 6:30pm.

We look forward to seeing you there.

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. Book early to obtain tickets at 2018 prices (and take part in our Gift Aid donation scheme to obtain unlimited tea, coffee or squash refils!)

We are pleased to say that the round trip is priced at the ‘normal’ (ie, £9 for children, £15 for adults, £14 for senior citizens, £43 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!

Normal ticket prices are expected to rise in 2019 (and rover prices will rise in sympathy), so everyone is encouraged to book early to obtain their ticket at the 2018 rate.

  • 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!

Rails & Ales Timetables Published

This August Bank Holiday, come to the South Devon Railway for a feast of steam and diesel trains – and our famous beer and cider festival too!

We’ll be running trains all day with departures from each end of the line (Buckfastleigh and Totnes) at frequent intervals throughout the day.

At Buckfastleigh, our London Transport Routemaster bus will be running trips to Buckfast Abbey and along to Ashburton, the original terminus of our line, the garden railway and all our usual attractions, from the museum to the gardens and gift shop, will be open.

At Staverton, our midway point on the line, the beer and cider festival will be in full swing from 11.0am until late (6pm on Monday), offering a great selection of different ales, craft beers and ciders to enjoy from Devon Diesel Society’s award-winning bar.

In addition, there will be:

– a barbecue on Friday & Saturday evening

– buffet car serving a variety of hot and cold foods and soft drinks
– a ‘just for fun’ quiz on Sunday evening.

Check out the timetables

England Team’s Railway Win

Good luck to the England football team tomorrow as they play against Croatia in the World Cup semi-final.

And guess what, if they win – SO DO YOU!

If the England team beat Croatia tomorrow and make it to the World Cup final :

– All children visiting the SDR on Saturday 14 July showing their support for the Final the following day by wearing any THREE LIONS insignia clothing can travel for THREE POUNDS! Shirt, hat, socks, shoes, scarf, shorts – anything with three lions on it counts, whether official or home made, just show your support at the booking office and travel for £3, provided England make it through tomorrow!

– PLUS….. for Dads….. the best Gareth Southgate lookalikes on Saturday 14 July, as judged by our talent scouts on the day, will receive a free family ticket for their next visit! Waistcoats, ties and beards at the ready! (Mums and children are welcome to take part too!)

Note, children must be accompanied by a fare-paying adult and are age 3-15. Under 3s travel free.

Step Back to the 1940s This Weekend


Get your glad rags ready – and Step Back to the 1940s next weekend!

We have military and civilian displays, vintage vehicles including Lorries, jeeps, motorbikes, plus trade stands, live entertainment and costumed re-enactors who will be reliving the wartime story. We would love to see as many of our visitors in 1940s gear as possible too.

We are also pleased to announce that a full size replica Spitfire is set to attend the event for the very first time!

Book your tickets here

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.