A Trip Back in Time on the South Devon Railway
5th April 2017
Categories: Feature on Homepage
A Trip Back in Time
Following the River Dart as it travels through the stunning South Devon countryside you’ll find The South Devon Railway. This heritage line which is operated mainly by a team of dedicated volunteer’s runs for 7 miles along the river valley and through woods between Buckfastleigh, on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, and Totnes.
The journey is made on the railways large collection of historic coaches which are pulled by a gleaming GWR steam locomotives.
You can join the train at either Buckfastleigh or Totnes and enjoy the wonderful views of the river valley, woods and spectacular rolling countryside as you travel along the line.
Buckfastleigh station is the main hub of attractions and action at the railway and it’s here you’ll find one of the main station building as well as The South Devon Railway museum, a play area, gardens, riverside walks and picnic area all offering lots to keep everyone entertained and amused for the day. Buckfastleigh station is also home to the Expressway model and gift shop with its new model railway as well as the Refreshment Rooms which are perfect for a spot of lunch or a light refreshment to enjoy before or after your trip down the line.
As you journey down the line the train pauses at Staverton, if you choose to alight here you’ll find pretty riverside walks, one leading to the charming village with its pub and 14th century church. If you’re staying on the train look out for the gnomes which are hiding around the station.
At the other end of the line is Totnes (Riverside), the station was built entirely from buildings and artefacts rescued from GWR stations all around the west and has a true nostalgic feeling of the steam railway heydays. The station is a short walk from Totnes main line station and the historic river side town where a range of shops, restaurants and cafes can be found.
With so much to see and do a trip to the South Devon railway is a great day out for train lovers of all ages.
South Devon Railway Events
Throughout the year the railway plays host to a wide range of exciting events. With everything on offer from heritage galas, car rallies and a 1940’s festival to a day out with Thomas, Halloween Express and Santa by Steam, there’s also the annual Rails and Ales beer and cider festival held August Bank holiday weekend.
A full list of South Devon Railways events can be found here.
History of the Railway
The South Devon railway was originally a branch line connecting Ashburton and Buckfastleigh to the main Plymouth to Exeter line at Totnes. The line carried mostly freight consisting of coal, wood, cider and agricultural items. The last passenger train ran in 1958 with freight continuing until 1962 when the line was closed as part of Dr. Beeching branch line closure plans.
That same year, 1962, the line was taken over by the commercial company who reopened the line as a steam operated branch line operating GWR locomotives and rolling stock.
In 1991 the line was taken over by a charity, The South Devon Railway Trust, which was run by the volunteers who were involved in operating the line. Over the years the company has grown and expanded the railway, including completing a station building at Totnes, expanding facilities at Buckfastleigh and major civil engineering works, building the company in to a fabulous tourism attraction and heritage line
To find out more about the railway, see time tables and ticket prices visit their website here.