Take to the rails in South Hams. With two fully functioning heritage steam train routes twisting their way through the stunning Devon landscape and alongside the River Dart, there are few places better on the South Coast for steam fanatics young and old.
First, let’s take a look at the South Devon Railway, which is the longest running tourist steam railway in the South West. Travelling between Buckfastleigh and Totnes (on a section of what was once the Ashburton branch which closed in 1971), the services offer a multi-mile steam train experience onboard one of many heritage locomotives.
As well as the many attractions available along the train’s route, with stations at Staverton and Nappers Halt between the two terminals, the South Devon Railway also has its own museum and model shop located in Buckfastleigh. The South Devon Railway Museum, which resides in the station’s former goods shed, aims to bring the history of the Ashburton branch to life through photographs and artefacts of the line’s past. The most striking of which being “Tiny” – the last broad gauge locomotive still in existence.
A visit to the South Devon Railway Gifts & Model shop, on the other hand, is the perfect way for any steam fanatic to end a day out on the line. With a range of new and second-hand models from brands including Bachmann, Hornby, Peco, Triang Railways, G & R Wrenn and more, there’s a lot to look through. Also be sure to check out the shop’s own model line featuring locomotives available in-store for a bit on inspiration!
2019 marks the South Devon Railway’s 50th anniversary as a volunteer-run preserved railway and so, with special events and visiting locomotives planned for the half-centenary, there’s never been a better time to hop onboard!
To learn more about the South Devon Railway and their 2019 event calendar, click here.
Running between Kingswear and Paignton, the Dartmouth Steam Railway is easily accessible from Dartmouth and offers guests spectacular views thanks to the line’s proximity to the banks of the River Dart. The line runs a variety of locomotives – many of which were built in the first half of the 20th century at the Swindon Works for the Great Western Railway – and so every journey has something new to offer. The Dartmouth Steam Railway is also in possession of a number of diesel locomotives, though these are mainly used for engineering and shunting work.
The route’s “Round Robin” deal combines a ride on one of the line’s many locomotives with a boat cruise along the River Dart, including opportunities to travel on a 1924 built paddle steamer and a short bus tour, making it the perfect way to experience the varied and tranquil South Hams countryside.
The Dartmouth Steam Railway also offers the chance to get down and dirty and become part of the driving team with their Footplate Experience package. Taking in the journey from within the train’s cabin, you’ll feel the heat of the fire while learning about all that needs to be done to keep these historical machines running on time.
To learn more about the Dartmouth Steam Railway and their tour deals, click here.
With its central South Hams location, Galmpton Touring Park is the perfect place to relax after exploring the rails, roads and waters of the area. With glorious views of the River Dart, Galmpton Touring Park offers a touring holiday experience like no other. To learn more about our site and to book for the 2019 season, visit our website today.