The South Devon Railway is a delightful preserved branch line that follows the course of the River Dart from Buckfastleigh to Totnes. This week the railway is holding a Winter Gala to coincide with half term holiday from schools. Noel Downie thoughtfully sent in some black & white photographs which are in keeping with the period when steam trains ran on this branch that British Rail closed to passenger traffic in 1958 and finally goods in 1962. The gala is on daily until Sunday 19th, more information can be found on the following link. http://www.southdevonrailway.co.uk/  There are between two and five steam loco’s running, the largest numbers at the weekend.

One of the guest engines is from the Bodmin & Wenford Railway and is a Southern Railway Beattie Well tank. The name derives from the fact that the water tank that supplies the needs of the water is in a “Well” underneath the body of the locomotive rather than on the sides or over the top of the boiler. This loco was built in 1874 and still going strong. One hundred and fortythree years. They don’t make ’em like they used to!

All of these photographs were taken at Buckfastleigh on Saturday.

Another variety of tank engine in service here is a GWR Pannier Tank.  Where like the horses had panniers suspended either side from over their back, the locomotives that replaced the horses in transport, had tanks that are are slung over the top of the boiler.

At galas the railway runs demonstration goods trains as well as passenger service trains.

This last scene is from the footbridge at Buckfastleigh station  where the train in the platform is waiting to depart for Totnes.

Not shown here is a GWR “Prairie” side tank engine and also a GWR 0-6-0 tender engine so lots to see and well worth a visit.