South Devon Railway is hosting a Branch Line Gala Week from 16 February to 24 February on the line between Buckfastleigh and Totnes.
The gala offers a feast of Great Western Railway branch line action, including pannier, prairie and autotank hauled trains, plus the special guest appearance of the unique GWR steam railmotor No.93 from the Great Western Society.
This vehicle, whose restoration was completed in 2012, is of great historical importance. It is the precursor of today's multiple unit diesel and electric trains and the only vehicle of its kind surviving today. The coming of the steam railmotor enabled the Great Western Railway to provide cheaply additional services between normal passenger trains, and also to provide extra intermediate stopping places. This led to a huge increase in people's ability to undertake local travel and consequently to greatly increased traffic.
The nine-day event will include a variety of branch line style passenger services. Visiting Great Western Railway steam locomotives 0-4-2T No 1450 and 2-6-2T No 5542 will be joining home-based 0-6-0PT No 1369 and one, two and three-car auto (push and pull) trains will be running, including the first three-car GWR Class 55xx worked auto train in preservation!
There will be Great Western and British Railways era trains and even with Milk Tanks added as 'tail traffic' to add to the branch line atmosphere. The 1960s will be represented by BR diesel railcar No W55000 on Saturday evenings.
For more information see the South Devon Railways website