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Dartmouth Steam Railway


RCD’s Overview

This is one of the UK’s premier heritage lines and gets our very top rating.

This is a very popular railway running along an attractive route between the Torbay coastline and the River Dart. It runs from Paignton to Kingswear serving the popular seaside resorts around Torbay as well as the attractive tourist destination of Dartmouth. The railway also operates the Dartmouth Passenger Ferry as well as river and coastal cruises, and an appealing aspect of the railway is the combined rail and river trips which enable, for example, a circular trip from Paignton to Kingswear/Dartmouth (rail), Totnes (boat) and back to Paignton (bus). The railway operates throughout much of the year, with an intensive daily service from April to October. The railway has a large collection of locomotives, most of Great Western origin, and indeed this railway is one of the most authentic in the country.  


Happening This Month:

  • Go to 'Homepage' and click into 'Railway Club Calendar'

Key Facts (where and when)

Extent of Railway (where to where):

Paignton to Kingswear (Devon)

Principal Visitor Centre:

Paignton Station (TQ4 5EF)

Period of Operation*

- April to October (Daily)

- Mid-February and March (Saturdays and selected other days)

- November and December (Special event trains)

 [* This is a summary. Please go to the railway’s website for definitive operating days] 


Key Facts (what you’ll see)

Services usually steam or diesel?

Exclusively steam

Type of Steam / Diesel Locomotives Used:

Range of steam locomotives

Length of Line:

6.5 miles

Time taken for a round trip:

1 hour

Number of trains per day:

Up to 11 in each direction

Number of Stations:

2 stations (timetabled trains no longer stop at Goodrington Sands or Churston)


Adult: £21. Child: £14.50. Family: £65

Time to allow for Visit:

2 to 3 hours (full day if river cruises taken)





Picnic/Play areas:


Special Features:

Available are combined tickets with ferries and cruises on the River Dart at Dartmouth and along the river to and towards Totnes.

Preservation Established:


Car Park Facilities:

None, however numerous car parks exist in Paignton close to the station


Key Facts (Galas/Events/Dining)

Dining Trains:

- None currently advertised                                                                               

Event Trains:

- Christmas Train of Lights: Late November and December                                                                            

Principal Galas:

- Dartmouth Regatta: August




Telephone:                                                           01803 555872


Social Media:                                             

                                                                             Also on Twitter/ Instagram/ YouTube



Brief History of the Railway and its Preservation

The London - Exeter - Plymouth GWR main line took a southernly direction from Exeter until turning west at Newton Abbot in the direction of Plymouth. Torquay was an important town at this time, and a branch from Newton Abbot to the outskirts of Torquay was always envisaged and opened in 1848. The Dartmouth and Torbay Railway was then incorporated with the aim of extending that line from Torquay to Paignton and on to Dartmouth. The route proved to be extremely difficult to engineer, eventually opening in stages between 1857 and 1864. The line never crossed the River Dart into Dartmouth. Instead, it ran along the eastern bank of the river to a point opposite Dartmouth, at Kingswear, where a ferry crossing ferried passengers to Dartmouth.  In the 1960s some rationalisation of the Paignton - Kingswear section took place, and from 1966 nearly all trains were a shuttle service from Paignton. In 1968 there were proposals to close the line, however the line provided significant contributory revenue and delay ensued to enable further consideration. During 1971 and 1972 talks were conducted between British Rail and the Dart Valley Light Railway (the operators of the nearby heritage railway at Buckfastleigh) for the sale of the line, and in 1972 British Rail sold the entire Paignton - Kingswear branch to it for £250,000. British Rail services ended in December 1972 and the private operation commenced immediately in January 1973.


Steam Operational Locomotives:

(1) GWR Class 42xx 0-8-0 (Churchward) - 4277 ‘Hercules’

(2) GWR Class 45xx 2-6-0 (Churchward) - 4555 ‘Warrior’ (out on loan)

(3) GWR Class 5205 2-8-0 (Collett) - 5239 ‘Goliath’

(4) BR Standard Class 4 - 75014 ‘Braveheart’

(5) WD USATC - 2253 ‘Omaha’


Diesel Operational Locomotive:

- BR Class 37 - D6975


Stored/ Under Restoration/ Out of Service:

- GWR Class 78xx (Manor Class) - 7827 ‘Lydham Manor’

- GWR Class 2884 (Collett) - 3803



The Dartmouth Steam Railway is a commercial operation which does not rely on volunteer labour or charitable donations. It is owned by Dart Valley Railway Limited, a private company, and shares are not publicly available in it.  Some limited voluntary work may however be available.  Call 01803 555872 for more information.



Those interested in this railway may also be interested in the following railway societies also listed on this



Traditional Railway Societies:

- Great Western Society (Torbay Group)

- Broad Gauge Society

- Friends of the Railway Studies Collection (Newton Abbot)


Model Railway Clubs:

- South Devon Model Railway Society

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