The South Devon Railway

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My summer holiday again took me to the south of England, and needless to say, to a heritage railway.  The South Devon Railway is 'what it says on the tin', "The Quintessential Country Branch Line".  I first visited the line on Sunday 22 June 2008 when the above video was filmed of GWR 2-6-2 tank engine No 5526 emerging from the shed to start the day's duties.  For a brief history of the locomotive and other GWR engines visit John Carter Images on this link.  One the same day a "Driver Experience" train was also running and can be found on that page of this site. My next visit to the railway was on Tuesday 24 June and, armed with a photographers permit, I explored the line around the Staverton Station area where the above video was filmed.  (The Staverton link takes you to the village website) No 5526 is in charge of the 12.15 Buckfastleigh departure arriving at Staverton at 12.30.  Note the driver has the single line block token in his hand to pass to the Staverton signalman.  When tokens are exchanged the regulator is opened, and a whistle blast warns them of the impending arrival.
The front view of Buckfastleigh Station complete with vintage cars to authenticate the scene.  Sorry no prizes for guessing what they are! A scene at Totnes Littlehempston with Hunslet Austerity 132 0-6-0 Saddle Tank 'Sapper' on display, and surrounded by various examples of trucks and carriages.  Much to my amazement the Hunslet Steam Co is alive and well.
 GWR Hall Class 4-6-0 No 4920 Dumbleton Hall looking impressive even though it wasn't in steam.  Built in 1929 and awaiting a major overhaul it would be good to think it would be running in time for its 80th birthday. The above link goes to a site with brief historical and technical information. A nice shiny D7612 returned from the West Somerset Railway earlier in the week and now graces the yard at Buckfastleigh.  A Class 25 and one of the total 325 built more information is available on the class on this link to the South Devon Railway  A brief history of its working life is available on this Spa Valley Railway link.
A collection of saddle tank engines are also in the yard at Buckfastleigh, including on the right had side of the above picture No 68011 which is a long way from home!  The engine in the foreground is 0-4-0 Peckett built 'Lady Angela'.  There is a fascinating story of an episode in her earlier life at the Industrial Railway Society pages on the link on the left.  The blue engine in the centre is Peckett No 1 'Ashley'. Seen on the Totnes side of Staverton Station, this two car diesel multiple unit set is receiving some TLC even thought they look to be in good condition.  The destination board underneath the headcode display says 'St Pancras'.  It will have been a few years since that set graced the St Pancras platforms,  Lots more South Devon Railway photo's are available on David Hennessy's 'trains world' site.
Running from Buckfastleigh to Totnes Littlehempston you are surrounded by beautiful Devon countryside.  A brief glimpse of which is the background behind diesel shunter No. D2246.  There is a wealth of knowledge on preserved diesels at the 'AbRrail Rail Database' on this link A view from the cafe outside seating area includes all those long forgotten scenes to water columns and the tank which supplies the water for it.  The signal box is on the right of the picture and various trucks fill the tracks at the back of the station.  By the way the sticky cakes in the cafe are excellent!
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