Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway

Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway

Heritage Railway
name = Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway

locale = Paignton, Devon, England
terminus = Kingswear
builtby = Dartmouth and Torbay Railway
originalgauge = RailGauge|ussg
preservedgauge = RailGauge|ussg
linename = Kingswear branch
operator = Dart Valley Railway
stations = 4
length = convert|6.5|mi|km
originalopen = 1859 - 1864
closed = 1892
stageyears = 1972
stage = Sold to Dart Valley Railway

The Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway is a convert|6.5|mi|km heritage railway on the former Kingswear branch line between Paignton and Kingswear in Torbay, Devon, England.

Due to the location of this line – at the heart of the English Riviera – much of the railway's business is summer tourists from the resorts of Torbay who are transported to Kingswear railway station from where a ferry takes them across the River Dart to the historic town of Dartmouth.

The line is owned and operated by Dart Valley Railway plc, who also own Dart Pleasure Craft Limited. Dart Pleasure Craft, who also trade as "River Link", operates the ferry service between Kingswear and Dartmouth, together with river and coastal cruises from Dartmouth, many of which connect with the railway.cite web | url = | title = Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway | publisher = Dart Valley Railway plc | accessdate = 2008-09-18 ] cite web | url = | title = River Link - Devon's River Dart Cruises | publisher = Dart Pleasure Craft Limited | accessdate = 2008-09-18 ]


Kingswear branch

The line was built by the Dartmouth and Torbay Railway, opening to Brixham Road station on 14 March 1861 and on to Kingswear on 10 August 1864.cite book| last = Potts| first = C R| title = The Newton Abbot to Kingswear Railway (1844 - 1988)| publisher = Oakwood Press| year = 1998| location = Oxford| id = ISBN 0-853613-87-7] The Dartmouth and Torbay Railway was always operated by the South Devon Railway and was amalgamated with it on 1 January 1872. This was only short-lived as the South Devon Railway was in turn amalgamated into the Great Western Railway on 1 February 1876. Brixham Road became a junction and was renamed "Churston" on 1 January 1868 when the independent Torbay and Brixham Railway opened its short line. [cite book| last = Potts| first = CR| title = The Brixham Branch| publisher = Oakwood Press| year = 2000| location = Usk| id = ISBN 0-853615-56-X]

The line was single-track except for a crossing loop at Churston. It had been built using the RailGauge|84 broad gauge, but on 21 May 1892 was converted to RailGauge|ussg standard gauge.

West of Greenway Tunnel the railway was originally carried across two creeks on low timber viaducts, that at Longwood being convert|200|yd|m|0 long and Noss being convert|170|yd|m|0. These were demolished after the line was moved inland around the creeks on 20 May 1923.

A station was opened at Goodrington Sands, south of Paignton, on 9 July 1928. A second new halt was constructed at Broadsands Halt at the same time but was never opened for timetabled trains.cite book| last = Oakley| first = Mike| title = Devon Railway Stations| publisher = The Dovecote Press| year = 2007| location = Wimbourne| id = ISBN 1-904349-55-6] Park Sidings opened alongside Paignton Station in 1930 to give more room to stable carriages. A goods depot opened south of the station the following year, and the running line was doubled as far as Goodrington Sands.

The Great Western Railway was nationalised into British Railways on 1 January 1948. Further carriage sidings to handle the heavy traffic on summer Saturdays were opened at Goodrington in 1956 and a turntable installed there in the following year.

Except for peak season trains, most services from 18 April 1966 operated as a shuttle service from Paignton; Sunday trains were withdrawn from 24 September 1967, although some were run during the summer of the following year. The Brixham branch closed on 13 May 1963 and the crossing loop at Churston was closed on 20 October 1968.

Heritage railway

In 1968 it was formally proposed to the Ministry of Transport that the line from Paignton should be closed entirely but instead, on 30 December 1972, the line was sold to the Dart Valley Railway, which operated a nearby heritage railway at Buckfastleigh. A winter service was operated from 1 January 1973 but from the end of that summer it became a purely seasonal operation. The purchase price of the railway was £250,000 and a further £25,000 was paid for signalling alterations at Paignton. Most of this was recouped from the sale of The Royal Dart Hotel at Kingswear and other surplus land.

An independent station alongside the main station at Paignton, known as "Queens Park", was opened to serve the Kingswear trains on the site of the old Park Sidings. The line was marketed at the time as the "Torbay Steam Railway",but this has since been changed to "Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway". It remains the proporty of The Dart Valley Light Railway Company plc.

A loop was reinstated at Churston in 1979 using colour-light signals, and in 1981 the turntable from the British Rail sidings at Goodrington was moved there. In 1991 the control of all signalling was moved to a new panel at Britannia Crossing near Kingswear. A locomotive workshop was opened at Churston in 1993 and a carriage shop opened there three years later.

In 2007 the second track and carriage sidings were reinstated at Goodrington Sands to give more space for storing rolling stock.


The operational base is at Paignton, where an engine shed is part of the station buildings. Heavy overhauls are undertaken at Churston where there is a locomotive workshop on the west side of the line, and a carriage shop and turntable on the east side.

Signalling is by electric multiple-aspect signals controlled from a panel at Britannia Crossing. The level crossing at that site is supervised by the signalman at the panel, but that at Sands Road, just outside Paignton station, is operated locally by the train crew.

All stations have booking offices but those at Goodrington Sands and Churston are only open at busy times and tickets are issued on the train most of the time.

The steam railway also operates a small fleet of buses, many of which are open-top, on routes in connection with the railway and ferry.


"The route is described facing forwards from Paignton to Kingswear, which puts the sea on the left and the River Dart on the right."

The line starts from its own platform at Paignton. The shed for operational locomotives is built into the south end of the station building, although coaling is done at the north end alongside the entrance used by passengers. Immediately beyond the station the line crosses Sands Road on a level crossing. The second track, on the right, is used by Network Rail to access their carriage sidings. There is a crossover between the two lines that allows trains from Network Rail to run through onto the steam railway.

Opposite the Network Rail carriage sidings on the right is a siding used by the steam railway to store engineering equipment. The train now calls at Goodrington Sands station, behind the platform to the right are more sidings which were transferred to the steam railway in 2007. The second platform is not currently in use, all trains calling at the one on the left.

Beyond the station the line starts its climb up a steep gradient behind the beach huts that line Goodrington Beach. The convert|630|mi|km|0 South West Coast Path follows alongside the line on the right. After a small headland the train passes the secluded Saltern Cove and Armchair Rock, then swings right to pass over first convert|72|yd|m|0 Broadsands Viaduct and then swings inland over the convert|148|yd|m|0 Hookhills Viaduct before reaching the line's summit at Churston. On the approach to the station the turntable is seen on the left; this is where the Brixham branch line used to join the Kingswear branch.

From here the line drops down through Greenway Tunnel, beyond which the River Dart appears on the right. Once down to nearly river level it passes over Britannia Crossing, from where the signalling for the whole line is controlled, and arrives in Kingswear. The far end of the platform is covered by a wooden train shed in the style favoured by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, although he died more than four years before the station was built. The boat- and car-park alongside the station was once a busy rail-served quayside goods yard.

The ferry across the Dart to Dartmouth leaves from the slipway which is behind the hotel next to the station. Dartmouth railway station is unique in that it has never seen a train as passengers have always arrived at the station by means of the ferry from Kingswear.

Rolling stock

Operational locomotives are shown in bold text. The status of locomotives may change at short notice and so this list may not represent the current position. Most locomotives did not carry names before preservation.

team locomotives

* 4277 "Hercules" : A GWR 4200 Class 2-8-0T, painted in GWR livery. Its boiler certificate expires in 2018
* 4555 "Warrior": A GWR 4500 Class 2-6-2T, painted in Great Western Railway (GWR) green livery. It is currently out-of-service and undergoing overhaul.
* 4588 "Trojan": A GWR 4575 Class 2-6-2T, a later version of the 4500 Class with larger tanks. It is painted in GWR green livery but is currently out of service awaiting an overhaul and is available for sale so it can be replaced by a bigger engine.
* 5239 "Goliath":A GWR 5205 Class 2-8-0T, painted in GWR livery. Its boiler certificate expires in 2017.
* 7827 "Lydham Manor":A GWR 7800 Class 4-6-0 locomotive painted in GWR livery, which it never carried in her mainline service as it was built for BR in 1950, two years after the end of the GWR. This is the only regular locomotive that actually carried its name before preservation. Its boiler certificate expires in 2015.
* 75014 "Braveheart":A BR standard class 4 4-6-0, painted in BR black livery. It is currently out of service and undergoing an overhaul which is expected to be finished by 2011.

Diesel locomotives

* D2192 "Titan":A British Rail Class 03 0-6-0 shunter. It is painted in BR black livery except it carries Dart Rail insignia.
* D3014 "Samson":A larger British Rail Class 08 0-6-0 shunter. It carries BR green livery except for Dart Rail insignia. Used for shunting stock or engineering work.
* D7535 "Mercury":A British Rail Class 25 Bo-Bo which is painted in BR green livery with Dart Rail insignia. Used on emergencies or special events.

Visiting locomotives

There are frequent visits during the summer season of Torbay Express excursions from Bristol Temple Meads. These are hauled right through to Kingswear by a variety of steam locomotives. In 2007 the regular locomotives were. "King Edward I" and "Tangmere" but in previous years "Union of South Africa" and "Bradley Manor" have also operated the service.

In 1973 and 1993 the famous "Flying Scotsman" hauled regular service trains on the line throughout the summer seasons.


The railway has a fleet of 20 coaches with 19 available for service and a further coach has been refurbished to become a Brunel exhibit at Kingswear Station.

Eight of the coaches are former British Rail DMU class 116 and 117 trailer cars which give good views from their open saloons. Only seven of the DMU trailer cars are operational. The eighth coach was formerly in use as Santa's grotto but is now used as a Exhibition coach telling the story of the line,its building by Brunel and a brief history of the local area.

A Pullman observation saloon, originally built for the Devon Belle service, is used regularly on passenger services. It provides a unique view of the railway, although an additional charge is made to ride in it.

The rest of the Fleet (11) is made up of British Railways Mark 1 corridor coaches,9 TSO's, 2 BSK's and a BSO. The livery of the carriages is a version of the former GWR "chocolate and cream" livery and most carry the name of either a female member of staff, or the name of a member of staff's child or grandchild.


External links

* [ The Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway website]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway — Overview Type Heavy rail Status Disused Locale …   Wikipedia

  • Bristol and North Somerset Railway — [v · d · …   Wikipedia

  • Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway — Pannier Tank at Chinnor Station 5700 class Pannier tank 9682 waits while passengers board at Chinnor Station on the preserved Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway Locale Buckinghamshir …   Wikipedia

  • North Tyneside Steam Railway — Coordinates: 55°00′29″N 1°29′06″W / 55.008°N 1.485°W / 55.008; 1.485 …   Wikipedia

  • Dartmouth railway station — Dartmouth Location Place Dartmouth Area Sout …   Wikipedia

  • Paignton — Die Küste in Paignton bei Hochwasser Koordinaten …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Dartmouth, Devon — Coordinates: 50°21′04″N 3°34′44″W / 50.351°N 3.579°W / 50.351; 3.579 …   Wikipedia

  • Paignton railway station — Infobox UK station name = Paignton locale = Paignton borough = Torbay latitude = 50.43489 longitude = 3.56489 manager = First Great Western platforms = 3 code = PGN original = Dartmouth and Torbay Railway pregroup = Great Western Railway… …   Wikipedia

  • Paignton — Infobox UK place country = England official name= Paignton latitude= 50.42 longitude= 3.56 population = 47,398 unitary england= Torbay lieutenancy england= Devon region= South West England constituency westminster= Torbay post town= PAIGNTON… …   Wikipedia

  • Dartmouth Passenger Ferry — The Dartmouth Passenger Ferry. Sister ships in the River Link fleet can be seen moored to the right. The Dartmouth Passenger Ferry, also known as the Dartmouth Steam Ferry, is a passenger ferry which crosses the River Dart in the English county… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.