It's full steam ahead at South Devon Railway this half term

By Ginny Ware   |   Totnes Reporter   |
Monday 21st February 2022 11:46 am
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GWR pannier tanks 6412 and 6430

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The scenic South Devon Railway (SDR) is promising a feast of steam – and a London bus rail replacement service – over the February half term.

Steam trains will run daily during the school holiday between Buckfastleigh and the line’s halfway station, Staverton; with the London Routemaster bus operating between Staverton and Totnes while major infrastructure works is carried out on the historic line.

These works comprise one of the biggest track and sleeper renewal programmes in SDR’s history, and will focus on the removal of half a mile of track along the ‘Royal Mile’ just north of Totnes Riverside station, and its replacement with brand new rail and concrete sleepers.

The new rail is designed to improve ride quality and forms part of an ongoing project to upgrade the line’s track infrastructure.

The Royal Mile is so called because the Royal Train was stabled there during the Second World War when the Royal family were Devon and Dartmouth’s Britannia Royal Naval College.

Trains are due to run between February 19 and 27 when the railway is planning to pair Great Western Railway pannier tank twins, No. 6412 and No.6430, for the first time since the latter joined the home fleet of steam locos in December.

Ernest Elsworth-Wilson, SDR general manager, said: “Our February half term services are always popular and we’ll have up to three locomotives working our services over the nine days.

“We look forward to welcoming everyone to the railway.

“It’s also very good news to be working on the permanent way and catching up with the relay programme.

“We are carrying out our most ambitious winter works plan yet, which is part of a major investment in the line over several years.”

Trains will run between Buckfastleigh and Staverton each day, with the Routemaster bus connecting with every train.

The 1964 London bus is appropriately numbered RM1872 – the line was opened 150 years ago in 1872.

For more information about February’s half term trains visit www.southdevonrailway.co.uk

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