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.
Click here for a fuller history of the line.
Staverton station in freight only days