Andrew and Diane Jones
Possibly one of the best commercially viable preserved branch lines is today known by its terminus at Dartmouth, ‘The Dartmouth Steam Railway.’
Back in 1987, Diane and I with our youngest daughter Sienna visited the line which was promoted then as ‘Torbay & Dartmouth Railway,’ please see attached tickets.
We purchased a supplement to travel in the ‘Devon Belle’ observation car no 13, one of an original pair numbered 13 and 14.
We were in luck because out train was hauled by ex Neath locomotive Collett 2-8-0T 5239 ‘Goliath,’ which when close coupled to the observation car put up a sterling effort and completely mesmerised our 4 year old daughter! Especially through the tunnel!
Although number 13 spent some of its working life after conversion in 1947, attached to the ‘Devon Belle’ luxury train ex Waterloo to Ilfracombe and Plymouth its remaining years were spent in the London Midland region renumbered M280M on the ‘Welsh Chieftain’ land cruise and latterly from 1961 travelling to the Scottish region for use on the Kyle of Lochalsh and Oban lines.
Preservation came after purchase by the South Devon Railway on ‘The Dart Valley’ line initially and eventual transfer to, in my opinion, the more scenic Dartmouth branch
Its sister no 14 was almost lost to the scrap man, having accompanied ‘Flying Scotsman, on its fateful USA tour, but eventually it was repatriated in 2007 at a substantial cost of £60,000 and now resides on the Swanage line.
Happy memories, Andrew and Diane Jones.