South Devon is easily accessible by rail from towns and cities across the UK, making travelling by train for your holiday or day out a great option. Direct services from London, Bristol, Birmingham, Sheffield, Newcastle and Edinburgh all stop off at Exeter, Newton Abbot, Totnes and Plymouth. These four main stations in South Devon provide connections and links, via local services, to Teignmouth, Dawlish, Dawlish Warren, Torquay, Paignton and Ivybridge.
With many bus routes and companies stopping outside train stations and providing services to the nearby towns and villages, it makes South Devon the perfect car free destination and holiday choice.
Next time you are visiting South Devon, why not take the train and enjoy the stunning landscape and history of this famous section of railway line. You can book your train tickets in advance using GWR, simply click here to be taken through to their booking page.
Routes and stops
Catching the train into South Devon means travelling on one of the most photographed sections of railway in the country. This section of track follows the River Exe as it makes it way from Exeter towards Dawlish Warren, it then travels along the coast and sea wall to Teignmouth, before turning inland and following the River Teign to Newton Abbot. The line stretches for a total of 13 miles along the water, offering fantastic views of the South Devon coast from onboard the trains. Long sections of the track have a footpath running immediately beside which provides plenty of excellent opportunities to take a great shot of visiting stream trains during the summer months.
From Newton Abbot the main line continues across beautiful countryside to Totnes and then on to Plymouth.
Local services operate from Newton Abbot stopping at Teignmouth, Dawlish, Dawlish Warren and Starcross as well as Torr, Torquay and Paignton. With Totnes and Newton Abbot both providing local services to Ivybridge.
With this great network of main line stations and local services travelling across South Devon by train couldn’t be easier.
To find out more about travelling on the Riviera Line, which runs from Exeter to Paignton download the new Explore South Devon on the Riviera Line booklet produced by the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership.
History of the South Devon Railways
In 1843 Isambard Kingdom Brunel was commissioned to build an extension to the Great Western Railway along the South Devon coast. Due to the landscape in the area, he had two options - to build along the coast or put the route through some very long tunnels linking Dawlish to Teignmouth.
He built a system of five tunnels through cliffs and a 4 mile sea wall. When the line opened in 1847 he used a new means of propulsion - the Atmospheric system. But it was expensive to maintain and steam locomotives took over after a year.
Many of the inland lines which originally operated across South Devon where closed during the Beeching cuts of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Two of the lines which closed, Buckfastleigh to Totnes and Paignton to Kingswear are now run as heritage lines and operate steam trains during the holiday season providing a chance to step back in time and travel the lines as they were intended.
To book tickets and check times and routes for trains to and around South Devon visit the GWR website.