South Devon RailwayAlan Johnson

The South Devon Railway is one of Devon’s and the West Country’s best loved tourist attractions and is the longest established steam railway in the south west.

The South Devon Railway, or SDR, 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, all weather 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: 3 Great Attractions, 1 Amazing Day. 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, 19 miles from Dartmouth and 13 miles from Paignton.

History

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.

For more information see the South Devon Railway Website.