Two Devon heritage lines work together to beat flood damage
Our neighbours at the Seaton Tramway have, like us, suffered from major flooding this winter, with flood, landslip and washout damage coming at the beginning of half term week.
The Seaton Tramway were forced to curtail their planned operations for February half-term week after a serious washout of the track overnight on 14th February. We at the South Devon Railway have only just repaired a major landslip that occurred over Christmas which saw us finally reopen on Saturday 15th February for our half-term gala event.
Coincidentally, our visitor for this week, LSWR M7 No 30053 from the Swanage Railway, is a member of the class of locomotives that regularly worked on the Seaton Junction to Seaton branch before closure of the line and its later reopening as the Seaton Tramway on part of the trackbed.
Visitors coming to see the M7 in action on Friday 21st, Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd February at our winter branch line gala will be made aware of the strong link the loco has with Seaton, and can also find out more about the Seaton Tramway and the significant track and power cable repairs now needed to reopen the line. The Tramway will have a display stand at Buckfastleigh over the gala where people can find out more about their recovery programme.
We have also volunteered manpower and equipment to help with the work at Seaton, in addition to the contractors already brought in by the tramway company to restore the running lines and reinstate damaged overhead power lines.
With the West Country’s rail links already badly hit by the destruction of the seawall at Dawlish, plus flooding and other landslips elsewhere in the region, both the Seaton Tramway and South Devon Railway – which together carry over 200,000 people every year - are determined that the weather will not beat them and are standing together in support of one another through the difficulties caused by the recent floods.
Flood damage on the Seaton Tramway, February 2014. Photo: Seaton Tramway.
Former Southern locomen to visit
In another link with Seaton and the former railway lines in East Devon, four former British Railways Southern Region loco crew once based at Exmouth Junction shed (72A) in Exeter, where the last M7 in Devon was based in 1963, are visiting the SDR on the afternoon of Friday 21 February to renew their friendship with loco No. 30053. They will arrive around lunchtime and travel on the 2.45pm departure, hopefully hauled by the M7.
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