With many thanks to the nearby Dartmouth Steam Railway and Riverboat Company, newly restored former Great Western Railway (GWR) Prairie flat-top 45xx tank No.4555 will be returning to haul trains on the South Devon Railway (SDR) for one weekend only over 14th and 15th March, and so recreating scenes that haven’t been seen for over 47 years on the line!
And former Dart Valley Railway (DVR) favourite No. 4555 will be reunited with some other old Dart Valley loco friends again in ex-GWR Pannier tanks Nos. 6412 and 1369 – the latter making a return to regular traffic after a two-year overhaul and sporting a new GWR livery, plus one of the SDR’s other popular GWR Prairie tanks, No. 5542.
Over the weekend of 14th and 15th March, the four GWR engines will perform on an intensive timetable so giving plenty of opportunities to not only witness the sight and sounds of these lovely locomotives together again, but also viewing and seeing the South Devon Railway in the Spring time! Featuring regular trains to and from Totnes Riverside, Auto Push-Pull trains, plus goods trains, there will be plenty of services to ride and see at this special event.
This will be the first time in 47 years that the three original Dart Valley locos have been together and steamed, an event which GWR fans will not want to miss!
A brief history about 4555
GWR Prairie tank No. 4555 was one of the original steam locomotives that worked on the Ashburton Branch during the 1960’s under British Railways ownership.
In 1965, it was then purchased by the Dart Valley Railway Co. and was the first locomotive to arrive on the newly preserved line. 4555 had the honour of hauling the official opening train with Dr Richard Beeching aboard in 1969.
In 1973, 4555 was transferred to the then newly purchased Paignton to Dartmouth Railway and hasn’t worked on any other heritage line since.
The locomotive happily returns to the railway it ran on when first preserved for this weekend only before it heads to the East Somerset Railway on a long-term loan.