Manor class locomotive visiting for Heritage Gala
The South Devon Railway is welcoming a visitor at the Heritage Transport Gala and Behind the Scenes weekend on September 14th and 15th in the shape of GWR-designed British Railways Western Region 4-6-0 No 7827 Lydham Manor.
Based on the Dartmouth Steam Railway at Paignton, Lydham Manor has only ever operated between Paignton and Kingswear in preservation, apart from a brief visit to Didcot Railway Centre in 2010.
However the visit to the SDR will not be the first time that the locomotive has visited Buckfastleigh.
After becoming the fifth locomotive to be rescued from the famous Barry scrapyard in South Wales, 7827 first moved, by rail, to Ashburton (the original northern terminus of our line, before the A38 trunk road was widened over the trackbed of the final two miles north of Buckfastleigh) for restoration in June 1970. Initial work took place inside the former engine shed there before 7827 moved again, this time to the former works at Newton Abbot. The locomotive steamed on March 16th 1973 and then worked under its own power to Paignton on March 30th of that year.
During its visit to the SDR, 7827 will take centre stage and will be used to haul a variety of trains, including operating with the carmine and cream liveried former Great Western coaching stock. The chance will also be taken to ensure the locomotive also operates on freight, milk and possibly parcels trains too.
A highlight of the gala, which will feature an intensive train service and also sees the SDR open up many areas not normally accessible by the public as part of its annual behind the scenes event, will be the pairing of 7827 with SDR based 2251 class 0-6-0 Collett Goods 3205. The combination of both locomotives running together will evoke memories of the Cambrian Coast route in Wales and two round trips are planned for the Saturday evening, one with 3205 leading 7827, then the other with 7827 leading 3205.
The DSR have told us that, other than its trip away from Paignton this Autumn, they have no plans for 7827 to leave the South West in the future and this makes its visit to us even more special.
Other locomotives expected to appear during the Heritage Transport Gala include recently restored 0-6-0PT L.92 which has proved very popular after being completed in London Transport livery following its recent overhaul. Diesel traction will be represented by the Devon Diesel Society's English Electric Class 37 6737 which will be making its last runs in "weathered" green livery prior to being stopped for extended maintenance this coming winter during which it will receive body repairs and a full repaint.
Coinciding with the National Heritage Open Days event, visitors to the Heritage Transport Gala will be able to visit many areas not usually open to the public. At Buckfastleigh there will be guided tours taking in the main workshops, the original signalbox at Buckfastleigh will be open for public viewing, whilst at Staverton the station yard will house an impressive display of rolling stock and plant and machinery used to maintain the railway.
The first public trains will depart from Buckfastleigh at 9.30a.m. each day (10.12a.m. from Totnes) with a frequent 40 minute interval service operating thereafter.
In addition to the above attractions, the museum at Buckfastleigh will be open as usual which includes a variety of interesting exhibits, including Tiny, the only surviving broad gauge locomotive, which is on loan from the National Railway Museum at York, together with a display of plans for the exciting future development of the Buckfastleigh site.
7827 Lydham Manor on the Dartmouth Steam Railway.