The South Devon Railway has announced Great Western Railway (GWR) 0-6-0 Saddle Tank No. 813 will visit the railway for the line’s 150th-anniversary celebrations between Saturday, 30th April and Monday, 2nd May 2022.
To mark 150 years since the railway opened on 1st May 1872 between Totnes, Buckfastleigh, and Ashburton, GWR 813 will operate along the scenic line beside the River Dart.
It will haul trains of beautifully turned-out carriages and authentic goods wagons of the period. Throughout the three-day event, there will be an intensive train service to allow visitors the chance to explore the local area and learn about the history of the line. There will also be the opportunity to travel behind other locomotives based at Buckfastleigh Station.
GWR 813 was built for the Port Talbot Railway, and numbered Port Talbot Railway No. 26, by Hudswell Clarke of Leeds at the beginning of the 20th century. It is one of the last survivors of the many tank locomotives absorbed into the GWR in the first quarter of the 20th century from formerly independent railways in South Wales.
In 1967, the GWR 813 Preservation Fund purchased the locomotive from the National Coal Board at Backworth Colliery in Northumberland. and moved it. The fund then moved it to the Severn Valley Railway, where the process of restoration started.
In 1968, the fund needed to acquire a suitable covered van in which to store components and spare parts to restore 813, so extended its interests to include the preservation of selected items of ex-GWR rolling stock, eventually amassing a collection of almost one hundred vehicles, most of which are now accommodated at a number of heritage railway sites in the Midlands, South, and South West England.
813 appears at the South Devon Railway courtesy of the 813 Fund and the Severn Valley Railway
Tickets for the 150th Anniversary event will be on sale soon and further details of the timetable and other attractions will be available online at https://www.southdevonrailway.co.uk/…/150th-anniversary/