There's a war on, and pupils and teachers can see some of the military vehicles of the time

South Devon Railway Museum: be a part of living history

The South Devon Railway Museum is on the platform at Buckfastleigh station. We are easy to reach from the A38 and A384 from Totnes. Remember that our whole railway – seven miles from Totnes through Staverton to Buckfastleigh – is a living museum. Visitors don’t just see history – they are immersed in it.

The South Devon Railway and Museum are open daily from just before Easter to the end of October. 

Museum Curator and Education officer:  John Brodribb

Phone:   0845 345 1420

Email:    editor.bulliver@southdevonrailwayassociation.org

Resources available

Displays include the only original locomotive built to Brunel’s broad gauge, plus the former Exeter gas Works shunting engine Ashley. You can go on Ashley’s footplate and learn about driving a steam engine. We have a large collection of paintings and photographs showing the history of railways in South Devon, the Ashburton branch and the Totnes Quay line. We show you silverware from the Great Western Railway’s restaurant cars, and a bit about the wool trade on which Buckfastleigh was built.

Schools Visits are tailored to your requirements. We encourage pupils and staff to become part of the subject – if you are studying wartime evacuation, come in 1940s clothes and travel on a train of the time. You could even Dig for Victory! We can show how the railway works, from preparing the steam engines to signalling and working on the track.

We give Presentations to local groups about all aspects of the railway.

Our strengths

We encourage visits from schools and other group organisers to discuss the visit in advance. We have an experienced team which includes enthusiastic former teachers. We welcome pupils of all ages, from Years 1 to 13, and are very happy to host other groups. Visits can incorporate tours of other parts of the railway, including our workshops.

Pupils and teachers become a part of history when they visit the South Devon Railway - they can travel on the train, dig the Station Master's garden, see inside a wartime ambulance, get on the footplate of a steam locomotive. It brings the experience alive, so they will learn a lot whilst having a great deal of fun.

Please book your visit in advance to get discounted travel on our trains with reserved seats, and to arrange your educational experience. 

Facilities available

The museum itself can accommodate up to 40 pupils at one time, and we can handle larger groups – up to about 100 – if given sufficient notice, by rotating them around different activities and areas on the site. We have a large café, covered and open areas for picnics and lunch breaks, and good toilet facilities. There is parking for coaches. Parties can arrive at either end of the line – Buckfastleigh or Totnes – and travel by steam train from both. The South Devon’s station at Totnes is about a quarter mile from the National Rail station, with an easy walk almost entirely off-road.

The museum and public areas of the railway are fully accessible.

Other places to visit in the area

Dartmoor Otters & Buckfast Butterflies are at Buckfastleigh station. The Totnes Rare Breeds Farm is just off the platform of our Totnes station.

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