Sunday, 26 May 2013

Seaside Manor...

Hi guys. We are now in Devon! We travelled down yesterday morning and are staying in Torquay for the weekend. Today we visited Paignton and no trip to Paignton can ever be complete without a ride on the Dartmouth Steam Railway...
The DSR runs daily throughout the season and mostly employs 4 trains a day. One steam locomotive is rostered to work these services and, during our visit, it was Paignton's only authentically named locomotive: No7827 "Lydham Manor". The DSR upholds a tradition of naming all rail vehicles, but 7827 is the only item to arrive there with its own name. The BR (W) 4-6-0, built in 1950, looked absolutely immaculate and was soon running round the stock for the first departure of the day (the 10:30am); made up of 7 coaches. To my surprise, the Manor soon ran back into the sidings and picked up an extra 2 coaches due to the amount of passengers who wished to board the train. In my mind I thought that 9 coaches for a Manor going tender-first up Goodrington bank would present quite a challenge...how wrong was I! The immaculate 4-6-0 chugged happily along to Goodrington where it made a good start + load 9 upgrade. The engine slipped slightly before regaining its feet and digging in for the climb towards Salturn. I was very surprised at how she climbed, with 4 crisp beats leaving the chimney and echoing around the coves at the seaside. The engine took it all in her stride and roared over the two viaducts towards Churston. I just had to have my head out of the window all the way up the climb...she sounded brilliant. From Churston the Manor coasted down towards Kingswear for Dartmouth where pretty much every passenger on the train disembarked.
 
We caught the Ferry across the water to the pretty town of Dartmouth before returning ready for the next train. The weather was lovely. During our return crossing on the Ferry we passed "Kingswear Castle": Britain's last coal-fired paddle steamer, which for 2013 is working for the DSR and offering cruises in steam powered fashion. This was an interesting little vessel with a very loud whistle...
Paddling in Dartmouth
Standing on the end of Kingswear's long platform, it wasn't long before "Lydham Manor" pulled in with her 9 coaches. You can't knock the cleanliness of DSR engines...they are all squeaky clean. Below, the Manor rolls in with the typical GWR vacuum pump ticking away...
The DSR, as I may have mentioned in past posts, owns one of the two Devon Belle observation saloon's (the other is at Swanage). These coaches are very luxurious and spent their lives at the rear of the Devon Belle express'. The coach offers brilliant views and comfort so we decided to take another trip aboard it...
With the Manor hooked up, away we went. We have ridden behind 7827 in the Devon Belle before, when she was green. Below, the loco hisses along the river...
After a loud climb up to the tunnel; inside which her fire created a huge glow which you can only really see from this coach; the Manor reached Churston. From here it is mostly downhill and the loco rolled easily along the seaside...
Best View in the House
Back at Paignton the experienced (and paid = very jealous of this fact!) crew of the DSR drew the loco forward for water before being shunt-released by the Class 08. Paignton station isn't long enough to take 9 coaches and still allow the loco to run-round you see. The Manor is completely immaculate...
7827 "Lydham Manor" - Built 1950
We then left the DSR after another enjoyable trip. Despite what some people say about it, in my mind it offers some of the best scenery in the country as well as immaculately kept locomotives and a much-loved destination...
Cheers guys - Sam

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