Branch Line Gala Week - Saturday 16th to Sunday 24th February 2013

GWR Steam Railmotor takes centre stage in February half term branch line gala week and winter ale festival.

There is a feast of Great Western Railway branch line action featuring pannier, prairie and autotank hauled trains, plus the special guest appearance of the unique GWR steam railmotor No.93 from the Great Western Society.

This fascinating vehicle, restoration of which was completed in 2012, is of great historical importance. It is the precursor of today's multiple unit diesel and electric trains and the only vehicle of its kind surviving today. The coming of the steam railmotor enabled the Great Western Railway to provide cheaply additional services between normal passenger trains, and also to provide extra intermediate stopping places. This led to a huge increase in people's ability to undertake local travel and consequently to greatly increased traffic.

The nine-day event will include a variety of branch line style passenger services. Visiting Great Western Railway steam locomotives 0-4-2T No 1450 and 2-6-2T No 5542 will be joining home-based 0-6-0PT No 1369 and one, two and three-car auto (push and pull) trains will be running, including the first three-car GWR Class 55xx worked auto train in preservation! 

There will be Great Western and British Railways era trains and even with Milk Tanks added as 'tail traffic' to add to the branch line atmosphere. The 1960s will be represented by BR diesel railcar No W55000 on Saturday evenings.

Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th and Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th February 

On both weekends, there will be four round-trip journeys a day on the Steam Railmotor with departures at 10.35am, 12.20pm, 2.00pm and 3.45pm from Buckfastleigh ONLY. 

The return journey will take around 75 minutes, but it will not be possible to board or alight at Staverton or Totnes due to expected operational restrictions with the Railmotor at both stations.

Passenger accommodation on the Railmotor is very limited with just 52 seats per round trip working, so advance booking is recommended if you do not want to be disappointed. 

Please call us on 01364 644370 to make a reservation or e-mail us

Please note that it will not be possible for passengers to consume any food or drink on the Railmotor; there are NO toilets onboard, and it has limited disabled and pushchair accommodation in the dedicated luggage area.  

Tickets to travel on the Railmotor are priced at £20.00 for adults and £15.00 for children (which includes one specific timed journey on the Railmotor), but also will entitle the ticketholder to all day travel on all other SDR trains running on the day of issue. This includes the two ‘Auto’ services and GWR and BR local workings, thereby offering a varied an excellent value-for-money day out.

For people who do not wish to travel on the Railmotor, but do want to enjoy the day travelling on our lovely line on GWR & BR (W) ‘Auto’ and local trains, then cheaper ‘Day Rover’ tickets are available.  

‘Day Rover’ prices are: adults (16+years) £15.00 and children (3-15 years) £10.00, but with the added option of being able to upgrade and include a Railmotor trip for an extra £5.00 per person subject to seat availability.

Normal SDR tickets with our wide range of discounts will also be available to those who just wish to have a return trip on the South Devon Railway.  

In addition two special bus services are running on both weekends, using vintage Western National vehicles. Service 124 runs to Holne, while the railway replacement Service 169 runs to Ashburton, the former terminus of our line before the A38 was built on the trackbed.

On both weekends, the Winter Real Ale Festival will be held at Staverton station. Special Timetables, including late trains on Saturday 16th and 23rd will be operating.

Trains start at 9.15am on Saturdays and Sundays and 10.45am on Monday to Friday.

All locomotives and attractions subject to availability.

Public timetable 

Working timetable


Notice to photographers

If you have not been issued with a 2013 South Devon Railway Lineside Pass, you are welcome to take photographs from public areas. However, if you wish to take lineside photographs, you must at all times remain outside the railway's boundary fences.


The restoration of No 93.

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 Monday 18th to Thursday 21st February 

Two GWR and BR(W) ‘Auto’ Trains will be running all week and normal fares apply with the usual SDR discounts available.  

Although it will not be running mid week, the Railmotor will be on static display at Buckfastleigh and it can be inspected free of charge for those who have train tickets. 

For anyone who would like to just visit the Railmotor, the charge will be Adults (16+ years) £1.00 and Children (3-15 years) 50 pence with tickets available from the Booking Office.

Friday 22 February

The Steam Railmotor trains WILL be running services today as a result of public demand! Trains will depart at 11.20am, 1.20pm and 3.20pm from Buckfastleigh ONLY in addition to the two GWR and BR(W) ‘Auto’ Trains which will be running from 10.00am onwards 

If the Railmotor does run, Friday’s ticket prices will be:

Railmotor – adult £17.00, child £12.00, including one Railmotor round trip and unlimited travel on other SDR trains. Standard fares will apply on the two ‘Auto’ trains running that day.