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Plym Valley Railway


RCD’s Overview

The Plym Valley Railway runs along part of the former Great Western Railway branch line from Plymouth to Tavistock, and is based on the outskirts of Plymouth at Marsh Mills. The railway runs up a river valley, usually pulled by small industrial steam locomotives or Pacer diesel multiple units. It is generally open on Sundays from April to September. The railway operates from the outskirts of Plymouth, its March Mills station being just off the A38. Car parking is possible at the park and ride at Coypool. Buses 20, 21 and 21A run from Plymouth City Centre to Marsh Mills. From Plym Bridge Platform there are attractive walks, including northwards along the former railway following the course of the river.

The support group is the 'Plym Valley Railway Association' (see 'Information on the Suport Group' below).


Happening This Month:

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

Key Facts (where and when)

Extent of Railway (where to where):

Marsh Mills to Plym Bridge Platform (Devon)

Principal Visitor Centre:

Marsh Mills Station (PL7 4NW)

Period of Operation*

- April to Early October (Sundays)

- June/ July/ August: (Sundays and selected Saturdays)

- Late October 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?

Steam and diesel on differing days

Type of Steam / Diesel Locomotives Used:

Small industrial steam locomotives, Pacer DMU and shunters

Length of Line:

1.5 miles

Time taken for a round trip:

40 minutes

Number of trains per day:

7 in each direction

Number of Stations:

2 stations


Adult Return: £6. Child Return (cheaper on diesel blue days): £4

Adult Rover: £10. Child Rover: £5

Time to allow for Visit:

1 hour


Museum Room at Marsh Mills station



Picnic/Play areas:


Preservation Established:


Car Park Facilities:

Marsh Mills (Park & Ride car park at Coypool)

Car park near to Plym Bridge Platform


Key Facts (Galas/Events/Dining)

Dining Trains:

- No, but food available at The Buffet, Marsh Mills station      

 Event Trains:

- Spooky Weekend: October

- The Christmas Express: December

 Principal Galas:

- None currently advertised 


- Driver Taster / Driver Experience




Telephone:                                                          01752 345078


Social Media:                                            

                                                                             Also on Twitter



Brief History of the Railway and its Preservation

The heritage railway runs along part of the former GWR branch line from Plymouth to Tavistock. That line was opened in 1859 by the South Devon and Tavistock Railway, and later extended to Launceston in 1865. It was broad-gauge but from 1876 also carried standard gauge tracks. The fortunes of the line changed when the London and South Western Railway sought to expand its influence west of Exeter in the hope of reaching Plymouth. A local railway company heavily supported by the LSWR succeeded in opening a line from Exeter to Lydford in 1874, and it obtained rights to run its trains from there to Plymouth via the Plymouth to Tavistock railway. The LSWR later decided to open its own line from Lydford to Plymouth, which it did in 1890, and the GWR Plymouth to Tavistock line then reverted to a rural branch. In the 1960s traffic on the line diminished, and the line closed to passengers in 1962 and to freight in 1964, although a short segment in the Marsh Mills area was retained for freight purposes. A local group set up a preservation society in 1982 and in 2008 it successfully re-opened a three-quarter mile stretch in the Marsh Mills area, extending the line to Plym Bridge in 2012.


Principal Aspiration

Further development of the Marsh Mills station complex/visitor centre


Steam Operational Locomotives:

(1) Barclay shunter 0-4-0 - ‘Albert’

(2) Barclay shunter 0-4-0 - No. 705


Diesel Operational Locomotives/DMU:

(1) BR Class 08 - D13002

(2) Sentinel shunter 0-4-0 - No.10077

(3) Ruston & Hornsby shunter - No. 429

(4) Pacer DMU Class 142 No. 142023

(5) Pacer DMU Class 143 No. 143618


Steam Locomotives Under Overhaul:

- Bagnall shunter 0-6-0ST - ‘Byfield’


Diesel Locomotives Under Overhaul:

- BR Class 31 - No. 31190


Stored/ Under Restoration/ Out of Service:

- BR Class 03 - D2046

- Heritage DMU Class 117 - 51407 and 51365



Name of Support Group:

Plym Valley Railway Association

Annual membership fee:

Adult: £16. Senior: £12. Junior: £12. Family: £22


Benefits of membership:                                  

-          One free journey on the railway

-          Two magazines a year

-          Insurance that allows you to volunteer on site


How to Join:                     Go to


What They Say About Volunteering:

Volunteers are always made most welcome and are very much needed as we are as a small railway with a lot to do and with plans to grow and achieve much more. There are many varied jobs from cutting the grass, helping to run the trains, assisting to build and maintain the line, maintaining and restoring the locomotives and rolling stock or helping to build infrastructure. There is always something to do. Experience is not necessary: everyone is welcome.


How to Volunteer:                                Go to


How to Donate:                                     Go to and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Above ‘Contact Us’, see ‘Donations’.


WHY JOIN:      Help the railway further develop its Marsh Mills station complex.


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



Traditional Railway Societies:

- Great Western Society

- Plymouth Railway Circle


Model Railway Clubs:

- Mount Edgcumbe Railway & Model Society

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