Rails & Ales 2015. Real trains, real ales and real atmosphere. Friday 28th - Monday 31st August.
This coming August bank holiday weekend sees our now well-established, 21st annual ‘Rails and Ales’ gala. Popular with both railway enthusiasts and fans of real ale and traditional cider alike, the four-day event features a mix of classic trains, including both steam and heritage diesel locomotives, plus an impressive drink festival serving a big range of traditional ales and ciders.
Entry to the festival is free, which has been recognised officially by the local branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), and will offer around 65 ales and traditional ciders from both local and national brewers, complete with beer prices being held again at the rate of £3.00 a pint and £1.50 a half!
SDR trains will run every 45 minutes throughout each of the days with a mix of steam and diesel power, with late ‘auto’ steam trains on Friday, Saturday and Sunday timed to connect where possible with services from Totnes main line station.
As in previous years, the real ale festival will be held at picturesque Staverton Station and is again being run by the SDR-based Devon Diesel Society (DDS) to raise funds which help maintain the Society’s three vintage diesel locomotives, including the ongoing restoration to working order of the 117 ton giant, Class 50 No. D402.
Open from 11.00 each day until 23.00, except on Monday when it closes at 18.00, the festival is based in an award-winning, purpose-built bar facility created in a former goods shed at the station by the DDS in early 2012. Additional outdoor and indoor seating is also available.
Some of the ales and ciders have colourful and unusual names which all adds to the fun atmosphere of the festival, and a full list of the final selection is here. Staverton’s own station group will be selling a range of non-alcoholic drinks, pasties and other light refreshments throughout each day in their impressive, newly refurbished buffet coach.
And on Saturday and Sunday evening, there will also be a BBQ in the adjacent station yard from around 6pm until 8.30pm, and the Worcester Loco Society will have Pimms on sale in their branded tent in the main station yard during daylight hours on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Sunday night also sees the ever popular ‘just-for-fun’ quiz starting around 8pm.
Visitors are advised to travel by the frequent SDR train services to the festival from Buckfastleigh where there is a large free car park or from Totnes where our station is a 500 yard walk from the mainline station.
Trains will operate to an intensive timetable on all four days, with additional trains running well into the evening. The first departure each day from Buckfastleigh is at 10.00, and from Totnes at 10.42. There will be a mixture of steam and diesel hauled services throughout the four-day event, with many services being steam hauled except on the Saturday when the heritage diesel fleet sees more intensive use.