Wednesday, 27 May 2015

A Seaside Outing: The Dartmouth Steam Railway...

"7827 Lydham Manor, Taken From The Paddle Steamer"
Hello everyone. This week we're on holiday in Torquay and no visit to this Devon hotspot would be complete without a day out on the Dartmouth Steam Railway. With a warm sun shining in the sky, we arrived at the DSR's main station of Paignton at just before 10:30am. The first train had already left and the next train would be hauled by No7827 "Lydham Manor", departing at 10:45. There are a selection of different tickets that can be purchased for use on DSR services on either the rails, the roads or the waves. We decided to book a 'Steam & Cruise' ticket in order to ride aboard the Paddle Steamer "Kingswear Castle" once at Dartmouth. Tickets purchased, we boarded the well loaded 7-coach train...
Well loaded was probably an understatement...it was standing room only pretty much. Right on time, the BR-built Manor departed from Paignton in a cloud of steam. Having called at Goodrington Sands, the 4-6-0 got to grips with the first of the strong climbs on its 7 mile journey. The engine walked up there easily and with steam to spare, a real testament to the driving skills of the DSR team. At Churston the other loco in service today passed us: GWR Heavy Tank No4277, now named "Hercules"...
Leaving Churston the trains descend heavily, passing through Greenway Tunnel on route. The Manor sidled gently down into Kingswear along the banks of the River Dart...
At Kingswear the adoring crowds alighted from the train in order to catch the Ferry to Dartmouth. No7827 had already swiftly begun her run round and was sparkling...
Having boarded the Ferry we sailed across to the picturesque town of Dartmouth, ready for our 75-minute cruise aboard the relaxing paddle steamer. Following our cruise we ambled around the bustling little streets and visited the famous Fudge Shop before returning to Kingswear station via another ferry. As it was lunch break over at the DSR, No4277 was standing silently at the mouth of the train shed...
A portrait of No4277 "Hercules", built at Swindon in 1920...
4277 was purchased by the DSR in 2008 and is one of two Heavy Tanks on the line, the other being No5239, now named "Goliath". The tanks and the Manor currently operate all DSR steam services between them, though No7820 "Dinmore Manor" is coming down on holiday for the summer. The Heavy Tanks are really masters of any preserved railway job and are really as strong as a tank can come. We boarded the 2:15pm departure from Kingswear aboard the 'Devon Belle' Observation Saloon...
The Pullman Crest in the roof of the "Devon Belle"...
Views across the Dart as 4277 ticks along the side of the river...
A quick video clip from inside the Observation Saloon...

The "Devon Belle", despite a small additional charge, is always worth travelling in. The seats are more comfortable and the capacity is less, making it a little quieter. Furthermore, the views really open up and you can even see the shadows of the crew from the fire glow as the loco marches up through the tunnel. Soon enough, the train arrived back at Paignton and 4277 pulled forward for watering at the column...
4277 takes a well earned drink at Paignton...
All in all, another very pleasant visit to the DSR. Our rides behind both 7827 and 4277 were most enjoyable, as always. I will always recommend a visit to this railway. Despite it being a full on business venture, the engines and rolling stock are cared for and the views will better those on most, if not all, other lines. Thanks for reading guys, Sam...

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