SDR Enthusiasts' Site

SDR May News 2004

Dave Knowling

Long time Dart Valley Railway and South Devon Railway driver, Dave Knowling, will be retiring on May 21st after 50 years on the footplate, with the last 36 working mainly on the Buckfastleigh branch. He joined the South Devon Railway staff in 1991 after being made redundant from the Dart Valley Railway when they gave up the Buckfastleigh operation.

Today, he received a surprise visit at Totnes from the Chairman of South Hams District Council, Cllr. Bill Hitchins for the purpose of making him a presentation in recognition of his 36 years service. During this time Dave has been a tremendous ambassador for tourism in the area which was the main reason why Councillor Hitchins wanted to mark the occasion.

Dave Knowling

Super Saloon 9116 "Duchess of York" to enter traffic.

The South Devon Railway's latest acquisition, Super Saloon 9116 "Duchess of York" purchased from the Paignton and Dartmouth Railway two weeks ago after their dining train was disbanded, has been formed into the SDR dining set and will be in action on its first assignment on Wednesday 12th May. This is the first time the two coaches have operated as a pair for many years. Both Super Saloons were originally run on dining trains in Dart Valley days both on the Buckfastleigh section and later on on the Paignton - Kingswear section. 9111 was transferred back to the DVR line in the 1980's. The occasion will be a meeting of the Devon Museums Group who are holding a seminar in Buckfastleigh on the day and including a trip on the railway in their programme.
Luncheon will be taken on the train followed by a series of short lectures aboard the train. SDR General Manager, Richard Elliott, will be giving a short address on the subject of The Business of Railway Preservation in the "Duchess of York"

"King George" & "Duchhess of York"
Further outings are booked for the coach during the coming weeks and it is also planned to use 9116 on the service train and charge a supplementary fare at quieter times in order to recoup some of the purchase price of the vehicle. The South Devon Railway can now offer dining facilities for up to 60 in the two Super Saloon vehicles. The dining train usually operates with Victorian saloon 249 attached as well as SO 4805 which has been upgraded for dining and incorporates a bar facility. Total seating at tables in the three carriages is 96 but again this can be increased by the addition of a further 48 seat SO and a 64 seat TSO.

A taste of things to come!

A mouth-watering glimpse into the future occurred recently when SDR locomotive 3803 was temporarily united with its tender at Buckfastleigh. It is the only time in all the years that the engine has been on the railway that this has happened. The engine had been temporarily removed from the main workshop where it is undergoing restoration whilst 1420 received attention to repair a white metal face on one of its slidebars. 1420 is now back in traffic and 3803 has been parted from its tender and put back in the works.
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