The South Devon Railway Enthusiasts' site

Buckfastleigh Mainline Turntable

The South Devon Railway has acquired the 60' turntable from Hull (Botanic Gardens) shed for use at Buckfastleigh where it will become part of the planned new museum to be built within the extensive grounds at Buckfastleigh. Network Rail sold the turntable to the SDR for a nominal 1 but the total cost of the project to remove, transport and install the turntable at Buckfastleigh will undoubtedly be in the region of 80,000. The turntable had been out of use for some years and was no longer connected to the system. The table was installed at Hull in 1955 when it replaced an older table. Although only 60' this will be able to turn everything at present on the South Devon Railway, including both 4920 and 3803, plus any visiting 4-6-0's that are attracted to Buckfastleigh on main line specials when the facility becomes available. Smaller Pacifics will also be able to be turned.

A planning application has been approved for the additional new track and the turntable at Buckfastleigh, which has enabled a Transport and Works Act (TWO) application to progress. This is required so that the statutory authority under which the SDRT operates the Buckfastleigh branch can finally be transferred from the DVR, under whose Light Railway (Transfer) Order the line still operates. The granting of the TWO to SDRT will enable the SDR to finally obtain the freehold of the railway in place of the long lease that presently exists.

Further planning applications will then follow to cover the building of a stock shed and carriage and wagon workshops, the proposed museum and a new diesel maintenance depot to house the line's fleet of heritage diesels - now 2 x Class 20, Class 25, Class 33, Class 37 and Class 50, plus various diesel shunters and DMU's

Turntable at Hull
Turntable at Hull
We took the brake off and it went round

The move to transport the Hull Botanic Gardens turntable to Buckfastleigh for future use on the South Devon Railway went without a hitch. Two of the workshop staff travelled up to Hull to prepare the table and associated gear for the lift. The Friday and Saturday were spent undoing the necessary nuts and bolts that held the centre bearing down, and removing nuts and bolts that held the circular rail around the circumference.

Sangwins Crane Hire carried out the lift on the Sunday using a 300 tonne capacity crane as it was necessary to lift the table out of its pit from outside the depot fence. This was achieved with aplomb and loaded on to an Allely's lorry. A second lorry followed with the centre pin and bearing and the circumferencial rails. The smaller lorry arrived early on Monday morning and was quickly unloaded. The larger lorry with its 13' 5" wide load arrived early Monday afternoon and was unloaded within an hour by Devon Lifting Services.

Well done to all concerned! Now to start planning the installation. The cost of purchase was 1 - including VAT!! Transport, crane hire, Network Rail costs and SDR costs were about another 14,999!! The turntable was the beneficiary of the 2007 SDRA draw and a start on building the pit is hoped in the near future. Should you wish to donate funds to this project then please contact the Railway.

Turntable leaving Hull
Turntable departing from Hull Botanic Gardens on its way to Buckfastleigh
Turntable at Buckfastleigh
Safe arrival at Buckfastleigh
Turntable at Buckfastleigh
Turntable stood by ready for the pit

Update AUGUST 2015: The turntable has now been sold on to another railway because no suitable location could be found on the South Devon Railway.

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© South Devon Railway Trust 2008-15

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