South Devon Railway wins top Devon tourism award!


Gong – 1                                                                               20 November 2014


            The scenic South Devon Railway (SDR) hit some high notes last night (Wed 19 November) by winning a Bronze in one of the top ‘Blue Riband’ prizes in the 2014 Devon Tourism Awards for the “Best Large Visitor Attraction of the Year” category at a special gala awards dinner in North Devon.


 The railway was one of four finalists on the night to be crowned with a Devon Tourism award in the large visitor attraction category which is one of the most prestigious tourism accolades in the county.


Gold winner was the World of Country Life in Exmouth; Silver went to ‘The Big Sheep’ in North Devon, and joint Bronze went to the National Trust’s Coleton Fishacre property in South Devon.


And, tonight (20 Nov) at the Western Morning News Business Awards in Exeter, the SDR is also in line to win another ‘gong’ as ‘Best Tourism Business’ – this is on top of the six award accolades which it’s now already received in 2014, see:

and the SDR website homepage at:


With seven awards now possible in just one season, staff, volunteers and supporters of the seven-mile, steam operated heritage railway are hoping it will be a clean sweep and thereby set a new record year for the charity which also carried its two millionth passenger in June.          More follows

Gong – 2


            The railway’s first award in 2014 came in the form of a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence in June, followed quickly by a Bronze medal for the railway’s Refreshment Rooms from ‘Taste of the West’ in July.


Next, in September, came an RHS & Britain in Bloom ‘It's your Neighbourhood’ Level 4 award which described the extensive landscaped gardens at Buckfastleigh as 'Thriving' – the first time the SDR had entered the competition. See:      


And then, the SDR won not one, but two more top medal awards in October for the Herald Express (English Riviera & South Devon) Tourism & Hospitality awards with a Silver for the railway in the best visitor attraction category, plus a Bronze for the ‘Taste of South Devon café/tearoom category, see:


Delighted SDR Railway Manager Chris Williams comments: “Winning so many awards in just one year is a very creditable achievement by our whole team, especially as it’s the first time we have entered most of the competitions. But being in the running for a Devon Tourism award was the ‘Blue Riband’ one for us as we were up against our peers with some terrific competition from other leading attractions around the county.


“Winning this Bronze award and other ‘gongs’ this year reflects the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of all volunteers and staff throughout 2014, many of whom do far more than is expected of them in helping to run the railway and our constituent businesses.”


And 2014 has also brought some big changes at the SDR with the introduction of e-ticketing for website purchases for selected events, plus the installation of Wi-Fi in the Refreshment Rooms and a new state-of-the-art ‘bean-to-cup’ coffee machine so that the SDR provides a top quality cafe service.                                                                                  More follows            

Gong - 3


The SDR is also getting ready to run its ever popular Santa by Steam trains which operate most weekends in December and during the last week before Christmas.


Early birds can book now by going online for Santa trains, or filling in and returning a completed booking form. Further details can be seen at the SDR website at: The Expressway model railway and gift shop is already stocking up with Xmas presents for children of all ages, and is open for business every day alongside the SDR’s award-winning Refreshment Rooms.


With ample car parking at Buckfastleigh on the A38 Devon Expressway, the South Devon Railway is just 25 minutes from Plymouth, Exeter and Torbay. Further information and news about the South Devon Railway can be seen at:




For further information, please contact Railway Manager Chris Williams (01364) 644370 or Dick Wood as shown below.



Issued by Dick Wood for the South Devon Railway,

 mobile 07711 552947,