The South Devon Railway Enthusiasts' site

Snopdrops in the wartime garden at BuckfastleighPhoto © JBrodribb 2017

For the South Devon Railway to hold its Winter Steam Gala over the nine days of the school half term in Devon, starting Saturday 11th February, and running right through to Sunday 19th February much had to be done in preparation.

Work has continued to repair the damage caused by the visit of the Local Intelligentsia a few weeks ago, and hopefully visitors to the gala will not notice any significant problems. Carriage & Wagon and Buckfastleigh Station Group in particular have been very busy with this.

The new yard takes shape ready for the half term trainsPhoto © JBrodribb 2017

Over in the yard, work has continued to reinstate the connections to the sidings. The photo shows roads 2 and 3 already reconnected on Monday, with work in progress on No 4, the main shed road. This was completed by the end of the day: a great effort by the PW gang in dreadful weather conditions. The slight kink in new road 5, behind the road-railer, is due to the need to move the new point a metre and a half to the right after it had been installed.

NRM Beatie well tank 30587Photo © JBrodribb 2017

The imperative to get the job done was that the Beattie well tank arrived from the Bodmin & Wenford Railway, courtesy of the National Railway Museum, on Tuesday. It is seen on Thursday ( 9th February ) standing on the new track. It will be a great attraction when paired with 1369: at the ends of their careers both worked the china clay trains to and from Wenfordbridge.

New signaller’s boardwalkPhoto © JBrodribb 2017

Meantime, Buckfastleigh Station Group finished the replacement of the walkway to the token exchange apparatus outside Buckfastleigh signal box - much better and safer than before.

Roger Gibbs with a miniature signal leverPhoto © JBrodribb 2017

In the Museum, much work has been in progress prior to reopening, notably Roger Gibbs on the signal. He is seen checking the miniature lever which will operate the stop signal behind Ashley.

Cutting back at Hood BridgePhoto © RDadson 2017

Up the line the Harris Gang has continued to take advantage of the closure of Hood bridge to road traffic, and has been clearing vegetation in the vicinity. Thanks to Robin Dadson for the photo. If you are visiting for the gala, it will be closed to road traffic all week, with existing diversions still in place. Relaying at Nappers is now complete – do check the ride quality if you take the train.

And finally – spring is sprung, although right now it doesn't feel much like it. The snowdrops are in full bloom, and the ones in the photo at the top of the page are in the wartime garden. Do come and visit some time over the gala, and bear in mind that access to many parts of the site at Buckfastleigh will be restricted because of the major work in progress. Remember also that there are no more public trains until our Half price weekend on Saturday/Sunday 18th/19th March to allow the site development to continue. Check the websites for full details.

Best wishes

John Brodribb
SDRT Museum Curator

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© South Devon Railway Association 2017

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