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Public and Working Timetables
Ivatt Class 2 46521 with a goods train — note LandRover on Lowmac !Photo © CWallace 2014

The South Devon Railway (SDR) has just started its daily running season with the popular, nostalgic steam trains meandering their way down the valley of the River Dart every day from now until November, but it’s also holding a special event over the Easter holiday:

A special heritage gala will take place over all four days of the Easter weekend following the railway theme: “Delivering the Goods” which aims to show off the different types of goods trains and passenger services once common on the railway network in a bygone era.

And the star attraction for this event will be the first appearance on the scenic, seven-mile line of a special visiting steam engine in the form of Ivatt Mogul 2-6-0 No. 46521 whose nickname is ‘Mickey Mouse’

This engine had a starring role as “Blossom” in the 1990s BBC sitcom “Oh, Dr Beeching” and is coming from the Great Central Railway in Leicestershire and due to stay on the SDR until June.

But mystery seems to shroud the origin of the odd ‘Mickey Mouse’ nickname for both the Ivatt and British Railways Standard Class 2 engines.

One suggestion is that it was only ever applied to the tank version of the engines and a slightly less than complimentary reference to the fact that the Ivatt design was virtually a previous Stanier one, but with modifications and not the genuine article, so a "Mickey Mouse” imitation version.

Another more fanciful suggestion is that the engines were paired with quite large tenders which, when the whole engine was viewed front on, made it look rather like it had a large pair of ears and so out of scale to the loco!

So, the SDR is asking people to try and answer this conundrum about the ‘Mickey Mouse’ nickname via social media websites and its websites! If anyone does really know the answer to the origin of the nickname, then the SDR would love to hear from them.

Working alongside the Ivatt Mickey Mouse at Easter will be unique Collett Goods steam locos No.3205 and London Transport liveried pannier tank No. L92 from the SDR home steam fleet. But diesels are not forgotten and will be represented by Class 25 D7612 and new arrival Class 37 No.6975.

There will be an hourly passenger service throughout the day, with many goods, milk, parcels and ballast trains slotted in between which will provide lots of interesting visual entertainment.

These goods trains will mostly operate on the Buckfastleigh to Staverton section, although there will be an early goods running through to Totnes each morning.

And there will be plenty of shunting demonstrations too with ‘station pilot locos’ provided at Buckfastleigh with Class 09 D3721 and at Staverton with Class 04 D2246.

Diesel loco D3721 will also unusually spend the weekend coupled to our genuine GWR shunters ‘chariot’ just to show what railway work for shunters was like over 60 years ago. And the SDR’s Expressway Models shop is selling 00 gauge models of a similar vehicle over the weekend.

To tie in with the “delivering the goods” theme, there will also be number of engine and brake van workings on the Staverton to Totnes section each day. These will be steam hauled and use one of the former GWR "Toad" brake vans.

Only a limited number of passenger places will be available on these brake van services which will give visitors the rare chance to sample to railway from a new vantage point.

All the other normal SDR attractions will be open at Buckfastleigh, such as the large Refreshment Rooms, ‘Bridge View’ kiosk, well stocked gardens, riverside walk, museum, plus the miniature and garden railways and, on Sunday and Monday, there will also be a large display of vintage road vehicles around the site.

The SDR’s former London Transport double-deck Routemaster bus will also be in operation, and for the younger generation there will be an Easter Egg Hunt.

More details of the event will be posted onto the SDR website plus Facebook and Twitter pages, including working timetables and locomotive allocations nearer the event.

Commenting on the event, SDR spokesman Dick Wood said: “Easter is always one of the best times of the year to visit the South Devon Railway with many of the spring flowers, such as primroses and bluebells, in full bloom and the whole countryside seems to come to life again. The Buckfastleigh egg hunt for youngsters of all ages is good fun too”

“We are laying on a great Easter show for people of all ages and interests to show how railways used to deliver both goods and people around the country, plus a good display of vintage road vehicles”

“Our visiting engine Ivatt No. 46521, nicknamed Mickey Mouse, will be very popular with photographers, enthusiasts and families alike.”

“And the ‘Mickey Mouse’ will be a very familiar loco to the SDR’s newly appointed Railway Manager Chris Williams too who is moving to Devon shortly from the Great Central Railway where it’s normally based, and who is visiting the SDR over the weekend.”


  • Visit of ‘Mickey Mouse’ loco No 46521 from the Great Central Railway
  • Debut of SDDT's “new” class 37, 6975
  • Hourly passenger services from 10.00 until 17.00
  • A variety of goods, milk, ballast and parcels trains running in between passenger services on the Buckfastleigh to Staverton section
  • Brake van rides operating between Staverton and Totnes, hauled by L92, providing a chance to see the line from an unusual angle (NB brake van rides will be limited to holders of boarding passes which will be provided free of charge to holders of Rover tickets, but max 12 persons per trip)
  • Station “pilot” locos and shunting at both Staverton (D2246) and Buckfastleigh (D3721) – all four days
  • D3721 working with GWR shunter’s truck weekend - Expressway Models selling 00 gauge models of similar vehicle¬†
  • Easter Egg hunt at Buckfastleigh
  • Display of vintage road vehicles at Buckfastleigh (Sunday and Monday only)
  • Miniature Railway open
  • Garden Railway open
  • Lee Moor Tramway shed open
  • Recreation of some goods traffic being loaded and unloaded onto passenger trains, using W1645 brake van area and luggage and milk churns
  • Opening of new "buffet coach" at Staverton for teas and coffee (N.B. the coach is not fully completed but is ready for a trial run with completion and full public launch at end of May)
  • On train bar on selected services, plus Refreshment Rooms and kiosk
  • London Transport double deck Routemaster bus tours


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© South Devon Railway Association 2014

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