South Devon Railway
The Primrose Line
The Steam Trains of the South Devon Railway link the historic town of
with the popular tourist centres of
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.
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
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
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
You can join RiverRail at Dartmouth, Totnes or Buckfastleigh but please check
sailing times first as tides affect connections on some days, particularly
Book at Buckfastleigh or Totnes SDR stations, the "Red Cruiser" kiosk on the
Embankment at Dartmouth or phone (01803) 832109 day or evening.
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.
To Totnes station then follow the signs
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.
The address for further information is
The General Manager
South Devon Railway
Telephone - (01364) 642338
Reproduced with the kind permission of the South Devon Railway