We actually received an invitation to the South Devon Railway in late 2005 for 31108 to appear at the 2006 June Diesel Gala , however regrettably we were forced to cancel at the last moment due to a power unit fault. As a ‘ 31’ had never worked a passenger train over this line , the railway were still keen to have 31108. Therefore following engine repairs and the NYMR visit , the SDR made arrangements to move 31108 by road in time to arrive at Buckfastleigh for the June 2007 Diesel Gala. Indeed following a long journey South-West courtesy of Heanor Haulage , 31108 arrived at the railway at 1300 on 05/06/07.
‘ Just arrived in Devon ‘ ! , 31108 awaits unloading at Buckfastleigh..05/06/07 photo A Matthews
‘ Back on the rails ‘ ! , 31108 stands next to Bubble Car Sc55000 at Buckfastleigh..05/06/07 photo A Matthews
The South Devon Railway is an extremely picturesque line which follows the River Dart and runs for 6.75 miles from Totnes to Buckfastleigh . Staverton and Nappers Halt are the 2 intermediate stations along the line although it could be argued the word ‘station’ doesn’t really apply to the latter ! ! The railway , once part of the ‘South Devon Railway’ and later the ‘Great Western Railway’, used to run a further mile or so beyond Buckfastleigh to Ashburton , the line’s original terminus. The railway’s HQ and depot is at Buckfastleigh with other locos based on the line being 20110 , 20118 , 25262 (25901) & 37037 (37321) with 33002 & 50002 under restoration.
Our first turns on this very friendly railway were on Friday 8th June when 31108 worked 3 round trips in conjunction with the Devon Diesel Society AGM. The first train ran at 1730 from Buckfastleigh and doubled up as a ‘ Beerex’ which was ‘ just up our street ‘ …! The Red Rock Brewery ‘ Type 2 Ale ‘ going down very well indeed !
The following day was the railway’s Diesel Gala and 31108 performed impeccably along with the resident fleet over both days of this superb event which was blessed with gorgeous weather throughout.Once again we found ourselves on the ‘ Beerex ‘ ! working ‘ top & tail ‘ with 20110 & 20118 for two very noisy runs on the Saturday evening….hellfire indeed !!
31108’s final workings on the line were on Saturday 31st May just prior to departing to the K&WVR on Tuesday 3rd June 2008.
This is an extremely well run railway and we were made very welcome indeed by everyone. It is extremely sad that the year long visit passed so quickly. More information about the South Devon Railway can be found by visiting their websitewww.southdevonrailway.org/ .
31108’s first train at the SDR , the 1730 Buckfastleigh to Totnes ‘ AGMex ‘ at its destination..08/06/07.
The train now arrived , 31108 is coupled up ready to depart on the 1300 to Totnes..10/06/07 photo A Matthews
On the final approach to Buckfastleigh , 31108 on the 1422 from Totnes..10/06/07 photo P Seymour
On the 1715 ex Totnes , 31108 arrives safely back at Buckfastleigh..30/07/07 photo Steve Thompson
Standing in the loop at Bishops Bridge , 31108 with the 1300 from Buckfastleigh …25/08/07.
The 1300 from Buckfastleigh again , this time stood at Hood Bridge..25/08/07 photo S Harvey
On a driver experience course , 31108 leaves Staverton with the DMU in tow..07/10/07 photo S Harvey
31108 waits for the shunt signal at Buckfastleigh for a move onto the depot at ‘Gronk Aid 2007’…03/11/07.
With 47309 adjacent , 31108 is at Totnes having just arrived with the auto-set ..26/04/08 photo M Skidmore.
SDR OPERATING DATES FOR 31108
- Devon Diesel Society AGM – 08/06/07….3 trips.
- Diesel Gala – 09/06/07….5 trips.
- Diesel Gala – 10/06/07….3 trips.
- Diesel Turn – 14/07/07….5 trips.
- Diesel Turn – 29/07/07….1 trip.
- Diesel Turn – 30/07/07….1 trip.
- Diesel Turn – 31/07/07….1 trip.
- Diesel Turn – 01/08/07….1 trip.
- Diesel Turn – 02/08/07….1 trip.
- Diesel Turn – 03/08/07….1 trip.
- Assist failed steam engine 5526 on 1545 Buckfast – Totnes from Stretchford back to Buckfast – 24/08/07 .
- Beer Festival – 25/08/07….4 trips.
- Vice failed DMU – 26/08/07….1 trip.
- Vice failed DMU – 27/08/07….3 trips ( 2nd trip to Staverton only ).
- Transport Gala – 15/09/07 – 16/09/07….3 trips Saturday , 2 trips Sunday.
- Driver Experience – 07/10/07….4 trips.
- ‘Gronk Aid’ Diesel Gala – 03/11/07….5 trips.
- ECS from Buckfastleigh – Bishops Bridge – 25/04/08.
- Diesel Gala – 26/04/08….5 trips.
- Diesel Gala – 27/04/08….3 trips.
- Diesel Turn – 31/05/08….5 trips.