South Devon 1940s Festival

~ Welcome to the South Devon 1940s Festival ~

Each year, on the first weekend in July, the South Devon Railway is transported back in time to the 1940s as it lays host to the fantastic South Devon 1940s Festival!

The festival has grown and developed greatly over many years and now boasts a large amount of displays, vehicles, trade stands, entertainment and atmosphere that you won’t find anywhere else!

Why not come and join us for a truly immersive and fantastic fourties day out?!

~ Buckfastleigh ~

Buckfastleigh Station field is transformed for the festival, becoming the location for the main military camp with a huge variety of military vehicles including lorries, jeeps, and motorbikes. It is also the location for the Entertainment Marquee, Children’s Fairground, Trade Stands and Civilian Vehicles. 

~ Civilian Vehicles ~

A selection of civilian vehicles will be represented at the festival with a display adjacent to the entertainment marquee.

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.

~ Military Vehicle Trust ~

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 Station to 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 in 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.

~ 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, for those wishing to visit the festival field only. Please see the relevant years festival details page for prices. 

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 online in advance.

~ Trade Stands ~

Each year a selection of vintage and military trade stands attend the festival to showcase their wares, be sure to have a browse and pick up a memento of your day.

If you would like to apply to bring a trade stand to our event, please contact us.

~ Re-Enactors ~

Many re-enactors attend the festival, from police officers and spivs to evacuating families, they really get in to the fourties swing and help us bring the festival to life.

We actively encourage everyone to attend in period dress and play their part but if you’d like to register to be a re-enactor and benefit from concessionary entrance fee and train travel, please contact us.