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.


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.

Welcome to the SDR!

Thank you and WELCOME! to everyone who attended our New Volunteers’ Induction session today. We hope you all enjoy working on the SDR.

If you might be interested in joining our team and keeping steam alive in the Dart Valley then please get in touch!

Our next New Volunteer Induction Day is on Sunday 22 April. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to work as part of a fantastic team such as that which keeps the SDR running, there’s never been a better time to find out!

Everyone is welcome, from all backgrounds and levels of experience – there are roles for everyone from the hardcore railway enthusiast to the person who doesn’t know anything about railways at all!

Come and join us!

New Steam and Diesel Footplate Experience Days Added!

Following the near sell-out of our Driver Experience days for both steam and diesel trains, we are delighted to announce that some additional
dates have now been added!

Additional dates added:
9 June – Steam
24 June – Diesel
14 July – Steam
4 August – Diesel
18 August – Steam

See our Drive a Train pages for more information, and book soon to avoid disappointment as we expect these to sell out too!

Spring Sale

Tickets for our Spring Sale are still available!

£1 off adults and senior tickets, 50p off child fares.

Go online and book now.

Use discount code SPRING4 for 4th, SPRING5 for 5th, SPRING6 for 6th, etc. There is limited availability so book soon.

The Spring Sale applies to online sales only and ends on Saturday 7th April.

Ticket To Ride – 1960s Weekend

15-17 June 2018

Get your ticket and take a ride back to the 1960s; a Magical Mystery Tour of groovy music, psychedelic fashion, and a radical real ale festival that will give you the Hippy Hippy shakes! We would love to see you in fab sixties gear!

There will be entertainment throughout the weekend on the stage in the event field at Buckfastleigh, plus a bar and live music, vintage road vehicles, trade stands, and, of course, plenty of heritage steam and diesel trains throughout the day, and into the evenings on Friday and Saturday!


Tickets are normal prices all weekend, and can be purchased on the day or, purchased online in advance. Round trip tickets are valid for unlimited travel all day.

Entry to the event field at Buckfastleigh is FREE for holders of round-trip rail tickets. ‘Event field only’ tickets are also available (on the day only) £6 adults and £3 children.

In addition, we are delighted to be able to offer an additional special evening deal for those wishing to only attend the music entertainment and travel there by train. A special evening ticket valid on trains from 5.30pm onwards and giving access to the event field – £10 for adults and £6 for children – ideal for travelling to the music entertainment by train from your home station to Totnes, and then to Buckfastleigh by the SDR. This evening deal is bookable online in advance only.

See the action-packed programme of events below!


From 10am Steam and diesel trains run all day from 10am
4pm Bar opens
7.30pm The Fab Beatles on stage
10pm Music finishes
10am Event opens
From 10am Steam and diesel trains run all day from 10am
10am Breakfast radio show
11am Bar opens
12 noon Children’s Hour on stage
2pm-4pm Nick Fish, Live Chat interactive radio show on stage
4pm-7pm Radio station request show
7.30pm-10pm The Zoots – Sounds of the 60s show
10pm Music finishes
10am Event opens
From 10am Steam and diesel trains run all day from 10am
10am Breakfast radio show
11am Bar opens
12 noon Children’s Hour on stage
2pm-4pm ‘Go Tell Alice’, local music group performing 60s hits on stage
4pm Wind-down music
5pm Close

Rail Timetable – Daytime

Photographers and enthusiasts may prefer to view our Working Timetable.

Rail Timetable – Evenings

These trains operate on Friday and Saturday evenings only.

Photographers and enthusiasts may prefer to view our Working Timetable.