With the exception of the picture at the top of this blog post, every picture you will see here was taken from the “Devon Belle” Pullman observation car on the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway (PDSR) . The carriage is one of two that ran on the Southern Railway’s Devon Belle express from London Waterloo to Ilfracombe, Devon from 1947 to 1954, . Both have survived, the other (number 14) is based on the Swanage Line, whilst this (number 13) can be found in Devon.
Looking for an excuse to ride the PDSR and having long wanted to have a trip in this beautiful old carriage, my wife and I decided to pay the £2 (each) supplement for a single journey. It was a wise move, as we had a fantastic time!
Despite the appeal of sitting directly behind a steam engine through a glass window, I wanted to experience the observation car as it was intended. Whilst in service the observation cars were turned on a turntable at the end of each journey so that they always faced backwards at the rear of the train. So that’s how we traveled, sat in prime position behind the glass window at the back…
Getting on the Devon Belle Car at Paignton, our first view was of the locomotive hauling us – 7827 Lydham Manor. Soon after filling up with water, the Manor ran around to the front of the train. It wasn’t long until we would depart and experience this beautiful railway from a different point of view!
Taking in the wonderful views of the beaches, we were soon very happy that we had taken seats in this very special carriage! We arrived at Churston, after passing the turntable. Churston is usually used as a crossing place for trains and it was here that the line’s large 2-8-0T 5239 Goliath pulled alongside our carriage.
The next section beyond Churston is where the scenery changes from the beaches of Torbay to the River Dart’s estuary. This transformation comes after passing through Greenway Tunnel, where I toke the picture below.
I’m quite proud of the picture! It was taken from an angle that I’ve never been able to position myself in before! Don’t forget to check out Shirl’s blog post on her walk through the tunnel (click here to read).
The River Dart can be crossed at several points and a ticket on the Paignton and Dartmouth Railway includes a trip on the Kingswear to Dartmouth foot ferry. The shot below shows one of the car ferries that we passed.
My wife and I really enjoyed our special trip on this line. I would thoroughly recommend paying the extra supplement, it is really worth it for the views! These are but a handful of the pictures taken en-route, so hopefully I haven’t spoiled the experience for anyone who wanted to see all the views for themselves!
To see more pictures from this visit, please click here. Thanks for reading folks!