ENGLISH TOURISM WEEK
Half– 1 1 April 2014
Hot-on-the-heels of the planned re-opening of the main railway line at Dawlish this Friday (4 April), the scenic, steam-operated South Devon Railway (SDR) will be kicking off the start of its main daily running season with a bargain Spring ‘half fare’ weekend this coming Saturday and Sunday (5th & 6th April) as part of ‘English Tourism Week’ to show that it’s truly ‘Open for Business’ again.
Passengers will be able to cast off the recent cold and wet Winter blues and step out to bask in a cut-price steam feast redolent of the ‘Golden Age’ of steam.
No fewer than nine trains will be running on both days over the pretty seven-mile line from Buckfastleigh to Totnes, which has a mainline train connection, and that will appeal to families and enthusiasts alike.
Countryside lovers will be able to see and enjoy some stunning Spring scenery from the comfort of the trains as they meander their leisurely way down one of Devon’s most glorious valleys by the River Dart which is now carpeted with beautiful daffodils and primroses, and walkers can take advantage of some relaxing walks and see the flowers from stations too.
Coming two weeks before the Easter break, the South Devon Railway always marks the start of each season with a special cut-price event to say ‘Thank You’ to the line’s many regular visitors, local people and volunteers, all of whom love the authentic recreation of the long gone, but not forgotten Great Western Railway. M/F
Half - 2
And with the main railway line artery reopening at Dawlish after a two month closure, plus continuing worries over the nation’s economy and job cuts, the timing of the regular event as part of ‘English Tourism Week’ presents an ideal opportunity for people to get out into the countryside for cash-conscious families as all fares will be at half-price.
Fares on both days will be at half-price, so an adult round trip will cost just £6.20; a child return (ages 3-15) will be £3.60; Under three’s and SDRA members go free.
The first train leaves from Buckfastleigh at 10.00am and from Totnes (Littlehempston) at 10.45am. Trains will leave both stations at about 45 minute intervals on both days.
Commenting on the “half-fare” weekend, South Devon Railway spokesman Dick Wood, said:
“After the February storms, we have all been looking forward to the main line re-opening at Dawlish which is a vital link for the West Country and us. Some 25% of our passengers board at the Totnes end of the line, so we really need the main line railway bringing people to the region which is now ‘Open for Business’ again.
“We usually run our half fare weekends at the start and end of every main season, but the timing of this year’s event is going to be an added bonus for many local people who have not been able to visit us so far and are also looking for a great value for money treat.
“There are some superb views of the lovely valley of the Dart to be had at this time of year, and there really is no better way to see them than from one of our relaxing steam trains. The line-side is always at its best in the Spring with beautifully manicured banks and hundreds of primroses and wild daffodils.
“We’ve always been true to our charitable roots by giving something back to our many friends and supporters every year, so our Spring half-fare day is just the ticket and always a very popular event.
“For diehard railway enthusiasts, we’ll be running both a Great Western era train with chocolate and cream coaches and a set of 1950’s style BR crimson and cream coaches over the weekend pulled by two former Great Western locos.”
Volunteer workers are always being sought to help with the running of the railway and the South Devon Railway Association (which supports the railway) is holding a start-of-season recruitment drive over the weekend too. So, if anyone is interested in getting their hands dirty and helping to keep the railway’s wheels turning, then they can just turn up and talk to some of the volunteers already helping run the SDR who can happily explain all of the jobs on offer and what’s involved.
With ample car parking at Buckfastleigh on the A38 Devon Expressway, the South Devon Railway is just 25 minutes from Plymouth, Exeter and Torbay.
The South Devon Railway also features an extensive range of products in the Expressway model railway and gift shop, and quality food and drink in its ‘Refreshment Rooms’.
The South Devon Railway will be running trains EVERY day from the half price weekend until November 2nd. The Expressway model railway shop has gifts for children of all ages and is open for business on most days along with the Refreshment Rooms. See www.southdevonrailway.co.uk for details.
1) For further information about the Spring “Half Fare Weekend” or to arrange preview photography or filming, please contact Dick Wood, see below.
Press Release prepared and issued for
the South Devon Railway
by Dick Wood,
mobile 07711 552947, e-mail: DickWood@southdevonrailway.org