Thieves steal thousands of pounds of equipment at steam railway

Overnight running at the South Devon Railway
Credit: South Devon Railway

The South Devon Railway has announced that, sadly, they have been broken in to by thieves, who have caused a lot of damage to recover.

The break in comes after the mentioning of Staverton Station being open and accessible to the public by Totnes County Councillor, Jacqi Hodgson, where she complained about the railway not wanting the footbridge at Totnes open 24/7 for any purpose because of safety and security reasons.

The South Devon Railway have now suffered a very serious break-in and theft of £5,000 worth of valuable equipment at Staverton. The break-in will now impact on the winter works programme.

The PW Yard at Staverton was broken into during the evening of Tuesday 27th November.

Access was gained by the theives by cutting the padlock from the chain on the yard gate. The thieves broke into the container next to the railways mess cabin and took several important power tools, including two chainsaws, a Maxim impact wrench (worth £2,500), a rail disc cutter, portable grinder and also helped themselves to Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). They also took accessories for the main tools, along with a selection of hand tools and several Jerry cans and track greaser equipment.

Scratches around the other latches show that because struggled to get into the other padlocks, they tried with a hammer and a bar to open latches to gain access, but they were unsuccessful.

The railway say that there is also evidence of attempts to remove the hydraulic pipes and wiring from the track Tamper machine as well as other items from the Tamper.

The thieves have also visited the stock which is stored in the Loop Spur. The doors on coach No.4802, a formal buffet car, have been wrenched outwards as they tried to gain access via the disabled entry doors.

All the battery boxes have been opened, but as far as the railway can tell no batteries have been removed.

Police were informed by the South Devon Railway,  but could not send an officer because of resourcing issues. If you happen to know anything, their crime reference number is CR-110101-18.

However, the police have warned the railway that this type of crime is on the increase so they will be increasing their vigilance to ensure everything is locked away.

This theft will now set the PW program of work back until replacement equipment can be sourced and purchased. The bill to replace the power tools will set them back more than £5,000 as they need to source them quickly.

Here are some of the past crimes committed at the South Devon Railway:

  • A serious break-in at Buckfastleigh station on the South Devon Railway overnight on Thursday 19 January 2018. All rooms accessed via the booking office. A train was also broke into.
  • A coach attack on the SDR in January this year was very serious. The estimated cost of damage amounted to around £5,000.
  • This now means it is the third time in two years that the railway has had such an attack. In March 2016, Buckfastleigh station saw vandals attack railway carriages, causing £500 of damage.

How can you help? Well, for starters, simply visiting the line on one of their Santa Trains, or Carol Trains will help as the cost of a ticket will go into funding these expensive pieces of machinery.

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Michael Holden avatar
I have had an interest in Railways for as long as I can remember. I am a member of a number of heritage railways and actively volunteer at 2 of them. I enjoy all types of railways, real life, model and simulations. I started RailAdvent in 2014 and am the main editor of the site.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I think the councillor who made it known that it was an open area to the public should help with finding funds to help replace missing items and get cctv supplied and fitted for the yard at council cost (insurance) and I hope the scum are found and punished and made to help restore the railway in general 🙁

  2. […] Access was gained by the theives by cutting the padlock from the chain on the yard gate. The thieves broke into the container next to the railways mess cabin and took several important power tools, including two chainsaws, a Maxim impact wrench (worth £2,500), a rail disc cutter, portable grinder and also helped themselves to Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). They also took accessories for the main tools, along with a selection of hand tools and several Jerry cans and track greaser equipment. Thieves steal thousands of pounds of equipment at steam railway […]

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