Where to ride a steam train in Devon
Visiting a vintage railway is a great day out whatever your age. There are plenty of old branch lines to pick from in Devon, particularly close to the South coast. All are dog-friendly too. Here’s our guide to where to ride a steam train in Devon.
South Devon Railway
This award-winning railway travels through seven miles of stunning South Devon countryside. It is a full day out when combined with visits to Totnes Rare Breeds Farm and the Dartmoor Otters & Buckfast Butterflies sanctuary at either end of the line. You can buy a combined ticket for all three attractions.
Join the South Devon steam railway at Totnes or Buckfastleigh Railway Station. The station at Totnes is separate from the modern mainline. It can be accessed via a footpath that leads from the bottom of the car park to the old branch line.
Trains run between March and November with special events such as Thomas the Tank Engine open days. You can see locomotives in action on the South Devon Railway webcam.
Check the South Devon Railway website for visitor information and timetables.
Read more on our blog about things to do in Totnes.
Dartmouth Steam Railway
Sit back and enjoy the scenery of the River Dart and Dart Valley on the seven mile long Paignton to Dartmouth steam railway. Stations along the route include Goodrington Sands on the English Riviera and Churston. This links passengers to Greenway – the holiday home of crime writer Agatha Christie.
The Dartmouth steam train line, which opened in 1864, doesn’t in fact call in Dartmouth. It starts in the seaside town of Paignton and ends at the village of Kingswear on the opposite side of the River Dart and is connected by a passenger ferry.
If you can’t get enough of South Devon’s views then extend your Dartmouth railway journey to include a boat trip up the River Dart to Totnes and a bus ride back to Paignton. You can join the award-winning Round Robin day out in Dartmouth, Paignton or Totnes.
Check the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company website for opening times, events, timetables and to buy tickets online.
Read more on our blog about things to do near Dartmouth.
Plym Valley Railway
This Devon Railway line dates from 1859. It closed to passengers in 1962. You can now travel the line between Marsh Mills and Plym Bridge. There’s also a miniature railway and a buffet car that is open on Sundays.
Be aware that is Devon steam railway has limited opening times. Check the Plym Valley Railway website for advice on parking, opening times and timetables.
Read more on our blog about dog-friendly days out in Devon.
Lynton and Barnstaple Railway
See moors and the North Devon coast on this restoration project in progress. The volunteers who run the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway aim to fully reopen the line that runs through the Heddon Valley in Exmoor National Park.
The line closed in 1935. It became the longest-abandoned section of railway anywhere in the world until Woody Bay station reopened in 2004.
Lynton and Barnstaple Railway is famous for being the only steam railway in the UK where passengers travel in Victorian railway carriages designed in the 1890’s.
Woody Bay has a tea room and special events are run on the railway line throughout the year. Check the website for open days, special events and timetables.
Devon Railway Centre
A Devon steam train day out that’s ideal for families with younger children is Devon Railway Centre near Tiverton.
As well as a narrow gauge steam railway ride next to the River Exe, the Centre has indoor and outdoor play areas, a miniature railway, model railway and a model village.
Check the Devon Railway Centre website to find out more visitor information and events.
Find out which steam railways are running Santa trains in Devon this Christmas.
Devon steam railway holidays
If you are coming to Devon to enjoy the steam railways we have holiday cottages in Dartmouth and the surrounding South Devon coast and countryside. There are three vintage Devon steam train lines within a short walk or drive from our accommodation.
Take a look at our range of Devon holiday cottages for couples and families of all sizes.