SDR Enthusiasts' Site


Local people can cast off the credit crunch blues and have some fun at the award winning SOUTH DEVON RAILWAY (SDR) later this month over Halloween weekend with a special bargain "half fare" event which marks the end of the SDR's successful 40th Anniversary main season of running steam trains.

On Saturday 31st October and Sunday 1st November, passengers will be able to tuck into a cut-price steam feast which will see nine trains running each day over the pretty seven-mile line from Buckfastleigh to Totnes that will appeal to families and enthusiasts alike.

There will also be a Halloween flavour to the event with 12 hidden pumpkins around the railway with prizes for children who find them all; a colouring competition, plus special spooky menus and decorations in the line's Refreshment Rooms at Buckfastleigh, such as "Hot Blood Soup" and "Hubble Bubble Pumpkin Pot"
The Totnes Rare Breeds are holding a Halloween evening too. Click here for details of their event (Please note this evening event is being run by the Rare Breeds and not the South Devon Railway.)

And the South Devon Railway is also using one day of the half fare weekend to try and encourage more new volunteers to get involved in helping to run the scenic line by running a "New Volunteers" day on Saturday 31st October.

Would be railwaymen and women will be warmly welcomed and given a tour of the SDR's site to see the work of the different departments first hand before taking a trip down the line.

The event for would-be railwaymen and women is open to both existing South Devon Railway Association members and the public, and starts at 10.15am prompt at Buckfastleigh station. Anyone interested in coming along should ring the SDR's main office on (01364) 643536 to book a place or look at the railway's websites for further information.

Over the weekend, countryside lovers can enjoy some secret, stunning scenery from the comfort of steam trains as they meander leisurely down Devon's glorious valley of the River Dart, and walkers can take advantage of some beautiful walks from stations too.

Coming at the end of school half-term week, the South Devon Railway always likes to mark the end of each main season with a special event to say "Thank You" to the line's many regular visitors, local people and volunteers who all love the authentic recreation of the old Great Western Railway and BR Western Region steam era.

And with all the recent financial doom and gloom on the money markets, the timing of the regular event is ideal for cash-conscious families as fares will be at half-price. So, an adult and senior citizen's round trip will cost just £5.00; a child return (ages 5-14) will be £3.00; and Under Fives go free.

Commenting on the "half-fare" weekend, South Devon Railway General Manager Dick Wood said: "We run our half fare weekends at the start and end of every main running season, but the timing of this year's event is going to be an added bonus for many local people who are feeling the bite of the credit crunch and looking for a great value for money treat.

"Over the weekend, we are also looking to recruit more volunteer workers in all departments to help us run the railway in this our 40th and arguably most memorable season to date.

"There are some superb views of the River Dart at this time of year, and there really is no better way to see them than from one of our relaxing steam trains.

"Visitors can also explore Totnes or visit the nearby Rare Breeds Centre right next to our station, or drop into the Butterfly Farm & Otter Sanctuary at Buckfastleigh during a half-day or full day's outing.

"We're also following a Halloween theme in our Refreshment Rooms at Buckfastleigh, and there may be one or two spooky surprises for people of all ages.

"We always like to give something else back to our many friends and supporters every year, and they tell us that our half-fare weekends at the beginning and end of the season are just the ticket."

The first train will leave from Buckfastleigh at 10.00am and from Totnes (Littlehempston) at 10.45am. Trains will leave both stations at about 45 minute intervals on both days.

Visitors will be able to see the progress being made on various projects up and down the line:

  • At Totnes a new signalbox is under construction, which will control train movements around the station.
  • At Buckfastleigh, the locomotive works is being expanded to accommodate special equipment which fits new locomotive tyres onto wheels, and people can see some of the restoration work on South Devon Railway favourite locos Nos. 1420, 3205 and 6412.

Volunteers are always being sought to help with the running of the railway so, if anyone is interested, then they can also just turn up and talk to some of the volunteers already helping run the SDR who can happily explain all.

With ample car parking at Buckfastleigh on the A38 Devon Expressway, the South Devon Railway is just 25 minutes from Plymouth, Exeter and Torbay.

    The South Devon Railway also features:
  • An extensive museum, including Brunel's only surviving "broad gauge" engine,
  • Newly refurbished and expanded Expressway model and gift shop,
  • Riverside walks, a maze and children's play area,
  • Newly refurbished "Refreshment Rooms",
  • Picnic area and wooded parkland.

And the South Devon Railway will also be getting ready to run its ever popular Santa Steam Trains which operate most weekends in December and during the last week before Christmas.

The Expressway model railway and gift shop is already stocking up with Xmas presents for children of all ages and is open for business on most days. Please note that the usual joint tickets for the Totnes Rare Breeds Farm and Buckfastleigh Butterfly & Otter Sanctuary are not available over the weekend. However both the Totnes Rare Breeds Farm and Buckfastleigh Butterfly & Otter Sanctuary will admit passengers to their attractions at half price on production of that day's South Devon Railway tickets.

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