South Devon Railway

The Primrose Line

The Steam Trains of the South Devon Railway link the historic town of Totnes with the popular tourist centres of Buckfastleigh and Buckfast Abbey on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park. Running for 7 miles along the east bank of the River Dart, the line traverses some of Devon's most glorious scenery. This fast flowing salmon river has its origins high up on Dartmoor and become tidal just outside Totnes, near our station. Wildlife abounds in and around both river and railway with herons, swans, badgers, foxes and wild otters amongst the birds and animals sometimes seen.

Pic of Puffer Train 1 Combine a nostalgic trip behind a steam locomotive along a branch of the legendary Great Western Railway with a chance to view at leisure an almost inaccessible part of the countryside. The new "Totnes Link" footpath enables you to visit either Totnes or Buckfastleigh, without adding to road congestion, by using the car parks at Buckfastleigh or the connections with main line railway services and buses at Totnes. The railway is run in traditional style by a registered charity and nearly all the staff are volunteers.


This is the principal station on the line with good car parking and visitor facilities. There is a children's play area including a maze, riverside picnic area, a cafe and gift shop, museum and locomotive and rolling stock viewing areas. Spend a whole day here and take in the adjacent Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Otter Sanctuary and the nearby Buckfast Abbey. The town itself is on the old coaching route to Plymouth and is well worth a visit.


A delightful example of a small wayside station which once did more trade in conveying cider from local farms than in passengers. This is the home of our fleet of restored goods wagons dating from an age when everything from gunpowder to fruit and vegatables was distributed by rail. Next to the station is a narrow pack horse bridge over the Dart and a footpath leading to Staverton village, one mile distant, with its ancient church and welcoming hostelry "The Sea Trout Inn". Several walks ranging from two miles to six start from here and the station staff are always willing to help and advise on these.


Pic of Puffer Train2 There are panoramic views of the ancient town of Totnes with its castle, narrow streets and historic buildings from our station on the east bank of the River Dart. From here the "Totnes Link" footpath, which is suitable for wheelchairs, connects with either the main line railway services and bus services or the town centre and public car parks. Our station has been almost entirely built by volunteers who used many genuine Great Western Railway buildings recovered from closed lines all over the West Country and in 1992 it was the winner of one of the prestigious Ian Allan Railway Heritage awards. Totnes is one of the most outstanding towns of the south west and has many attractions including the excellent town museum and the quay where the "RiverRail" pleasure boats from Dartmouth depart and arrive.


Board a train at Buckfastleigh for a steam hauled ride beside the River Dart to Totnes, hop on a "Red Cruiser" for a leisurely sail down river to Dartmouth. Alternatively catch the boat at Dartmouth and do the same in reverse.

You can join RiverRail at Dartmouth, Totnes or Buckfastleigh but please check sailing times first as tides affect connections on some days, particularly from Buckfastleigh.

Book at Buckfastleigh or Totnes SDR stations, the "Red Cruiser" kiosk on the Embankment at Dartmouth or phone (01803) 832109 day or evening.

By Car.

Buckfastleigh is between Exeter and Plymouth on the A38 dual carriageway. Leave at the Dart Bridge junction and follow the signs to the South Devon Railway. From Dawlish and Teignmouth travel via Newton Abbott and A388 to the A38.
Totnes is on the A385 from Paignton (and Torquay) and the A381 from Kingsbridge and Dartmouth.

By Train

To Totnes station then follow the signs

By Bus.

BayLine 88 from Newton Abbot to Buckfastleigh.
Western National X80 from Torquay, Paignton and Plymouth to Totnes.
Western National X39 from Plymouth and Exeter to Buckfastleigh.

Further Information

The address for further information is

    The General Manager
    South Devon Railway
    The Station
    TQ11 0DZ

    Telephone - (01364) 642338


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Reproduced with the kind permission of the South Devon Railway