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SOUTH DEVON RAILWAY News 16th July 2017
L.92 ( aka 5786 ) in the main SDRE workshopPhoto © JBrodribb 2017

Believe it or not, life goes on at the South Devon Railway. Trains have varied from packed full to fairly quiet, largely dependent on the weather. Last Tuesday saw torrential rain all day, and was very, very busy. Coach parties add to this, of course, and there do seem to be plenty: full marks to the marketing department. Overall it does seem to have been busy.

Work on L92 continues apace, and is now mostly connecting pipework. I have to make a correction to the date I gave recently for its return to traffic. It's final steam test is due on 28 July, and whilst it is possible that it will then be available, it is more likely to need further fettling. Watch this space. The photo shows it in the workshops last Thursday.

Mike Harris putting the seat side cards in place in 4785Photo © JBrodribb 2017

GWR brake coach No 1645 has been in the running shed for its annual examination, routine maintenance and some remedial work, and should return to traffic very shortly. BR Mark 1 No 4785 is making good progress in Carriage & Wagon, with the seat bases now fitted and upholstery being installed. It will make a very welcome addition to the fleet when it finally emerges. Note the call buttons in the wall panelling.

The new shed at the North end of the site taking shapeThe Buckfastleigh footbridge receiving attention
Photo © JBrodribb2017

Work continues on the new carriage shed next to the A38. The ties between the two rows of stanchions have now been installed, and the cladding is almost complete. The smoke vent still has to have its “roof” fitted, plus the louvres on the sides. After that the track can go back in. At the other end of the site the footbridge has been receiving attention. A SDRA volunteer has been cleaning and painting it and contractors are now replacing woodwork on the treads and risers. It was out of use last week, but should be back in service very soon.

A freshly painted railcar W55000 seen here beside the river DartPhoto © CWallace 2017

Ex LSWR 4-4-0 Class T9 locomotive No 30120 is based at Bodmin and part of the National Collection. It had been intended to hire this to provide cover for the peak season on the SDR, but this will not now happen. 5526 and L.92 will be available for most of the period, with 5542 likely to stay until almost the end of August. Washouts and so on can take place on Fridays and Saturdays when only one train is running. ( See The peak two train (blue) timetable starts tomorrow (Monday), although the situation with coaching stock remains tight. A two train timetable was in operation today (Sunday), the second train being a driver experience using 5542 and auto coach 233. Devon schools do not finish until the end of the week, so there should not be too much of a problem if this turns out to be the second set this week.
With the two-train service in operation the 16.30 departure from Buckfasteigh to Totnes, and return, is worked by bubblecar No W55000, freshly repainted. Its first such working was on Monday ( 17th July ), and I'm very grateful to Colin Wallace for the superb photo of it along by the river Dart.

Work continues on the original signal boxPhoto © JBrodribb2017

Museum volunteers have continued to work on the original signal box, with the windows receiving attention. We had a very good attendance last Thursday,13 July, with Mike, Robin, Gary, John and John, but we can always accommodate more. This is not to forget the archiving team of Anne, Dennis and David, plus stewards Mark and Dennis, the last doing both jobs on alternate Thursdays. If you’d like to join us please let me know.

Dartmoor National Park has decided to discontinue its Ashburton Masterplan, which envisaged redeveloping the station site. It now wants evidence of the feasibility of restoring the railway to be part of future discussions, so that this can be incorporated in the Local Plan Review. You can read this here.

Here are a few scenes from years gone by – almost certainly 1970 – very kindly provided by Colin Lennox-Jones. I hope you enjoy them.

7827 and 1420 with an auto trailer at Ashburton1420 and an auto trailer at Ashburton
Ashburton Branch GWR Prairie 2-6-2T 4555 in the 1970s
Photo © CLennoxJones2017

Best wishes

John Brodribb
SDRT Museum Curator

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© South Devon Railway Association 2017

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