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The South Devon Railway - Buckfastleigh - Dartmoor - Devon

The South Devon Railway - Buckfastleigh - Dartmoor - DevonThe South Devon Railway - Buckfastleigh - Dartmoor - DevonThe South Devon Railway - Buckfastleigh - Dartmoor - Devon
Address: South Devon Railway Trust
The Station
Town: Buckfastleigh
County: Devon
Postcode: TQ11 0DZ
Telephone: 0845 345 1466
Fax: 01364 642170
Email: To Email Click Here

The South Devon Railway is one of Devon’s and the West Country’s best loved tourist attractions.

It is a seven mile former Great Western Railway branch line, built in 1872, which runs along the stunning valley of the River Dart between Buckfastleigh and Totnes. We run steam trains with heritage rolling stock and offer a wonderful all day attraction for families and people of all ages.

Ride the South Devon Railway and, while you are with us, you can visit the Totnes Rare Breeds Farm and Dartmoor Otters & Buckfast Butterflies. Find us just off the A38 at Buckfastleigh, very close to the famous Buckfast Abbey, or by train to Totnes on the Great Western main line.

Buckfastleigh is around 22 miles from Exeter, 21 miles from Plymouth and 13 miles from Paignton.

In 2007, the South Devon Railway was voted Heritage Railway of the Year. Please browse our website to find out all about us - and we look forward to meeting you!

Drive a real train!

The ultimate gift or the chance to live a childhood ambition

Drive a steam or diesel locomotive on the South Devon Railway under the watchful eye of our experienced footplate crews.

The South Devon Railway can make it possible – with a Steam or Diesel Footplate Experience day. Steam experience days cost £310 per person. Diesel experience days cost £225 per person. Up to six guests, who will ride in the train, are free. All courses are subject to availability.

You must be over the age of 18 years and be fit and healthy. You will need to wear old clothes and stout shoes. We will supply a dustcoat and gloves. 

South Devon Railway footplate experience courses make a superb and memorable gift. To check dates and availability and to book, call 0845 345 1466 or email us.

Restaurant Car Services

Step aboard our luxury dining train, the Devonshire Pullman, for a wonderful experience in first class travel, as you enjoy a delicious meal, freshly prepared by our own chef who sources local Devon produce wherever possible. 

Fresh menus, including a vegetarian option, are planned for each train and we offer a range of fine wines, which we have specially selected.

The train comprises historic carriages, including King George and Duchess of York, from the GWR’s Ocean Liner Express, which ran from London to Plymouth to connect with the Trans-Atlantic steamers, and GWR Special Saloon 9005.

The journey, which lasts around two and a half hours, takes you on a leisurely trip from Buckfastleigh, where you board the train, to Totnes and back. 


Today’s South Devon Railway originally ran for nine miles from Totnes to the ancient stannary town of Ashburton, via Staverton and Buckfastleigh.

It was opened on 1st May 1872. The line never made a profit and had a quiet life, mainly being used for goods traffic, such as coal, wool, cider and agricultural goods, and serving the local population. In November 1958, the line closed to passengers, freight continuing until 1962.

A group of businessmen announced their intention to run the line, to be named the Dart Valley Railway, as a tourist line and in 1965 the first rolling stock arrived. Services between Buckfastleigh and Totnes started in 1969. In 1971, the line from Buckfastleigh to Ashburton was lost to the widening of the A38.

In 1991, the line was taken over by a registered charity, the South Devon Railway Trust and renamed the South Devon Railway.


The backbone of the South Devon Railway is the volunteers who play a key role in the operation of the railway in a range of positions and the funding of a variety of projects.

Members of the South Devon Railway Association provide the train crews (drivers, firemen, guards and travelling ticket inspectors) on our trains, as well as a range of other tasks, from booking office clerks and station staff, to catering staff. In addition, there are engineering jobs in the workshop, platelayers on the permanent way, restoration work in the Carriage & Wagon department and a whole range of jobs in the Signal & Telegraph department, including signalmen.

You don’t need any special skills – but if you do, let us know as we can most probably put them to good use, whether they are railway skills, engineering, building, DIY, general management and administration or even gardening! Volunteers often have an interest in a specific area so we will give them any necessary training to enable them to help.

If you’re not already a member, the first thing to do is join the Association and fill in a volunteer form. If you would like to talk to someone about volunteering, call 0845 345 1466 and ask for the operations manager or email us and we’ll give you lots of advice about becoming a volunteer on the SDR.