Steam Open Days

Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays - 11th to 26th February 2023

This half term, enjoy a visit to the South Devon Railway at Buckfastleigh station, just off the A38 approximately half-way between Exeter and Plymouth. A whole range of activities are available, with something to suit everyone.

Our site at Buckfastleigh is open on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 11th and 26th February inclusive.

Entry to our extensive site at Buckfastleigh and many of our displays are free, with some attractions costing a small fee.

Attractions include:

  • Our museum, including the only surviving Broad Gauge locomotive, “Tiny”.
  • The original Buckfastleigh Signal Box open, with the chance to have a go pulling some levers yourself!
  • Visit the cab of a heritage mainline diesel locomotive and see the driver’s controls.
  • Our extensive grounds and gardens open, including our children’s play area.
  • Steam Hauled Brake Van rides (£4 per person), a 10 minute ride in an original GWR “Toad” brake van.
  • Steam Driver Experience course – the opportunity to get hands on and have a go driving one of our Great Western Steam locomotives (£25 per person).
  • Cream Teas served at your seat in our of our historic carriages in our platform at Buckfastleigh.
  • Gift and model shop open, including large model railway display.

Please note that trains are not operating to Staverton or Totnes whilst we carry out major renewal of our track prior to reopening in March 2023.

Opening Days, Times and Location

Our full list of opening days during February Half Term 2023 are:

  • Saturday 11th February
  • Sunday 12th February
  • Tuesday 14th February
  • Wednesday 15th February
  • Thursday 16th February
  • Saturday 18th February
  • Sunday 19th February
  • Tuesday 21st February
  • Wednesday 22nd February
  • Thursday 23rd February
  • Saturday 25th February
  • Sunday 26th February

Our site at Buckfastleigh is open between 1000 and 1600 on each opening day, including our shop, stationary on-train cream tea experience and buffet service, grounds and gardens and signal box.

Brake Van Rides operate from 1030 until 1530 each day every 30 minutes – booking is advised, see below for details.

Steam Driver Experience trips also operate every 30 minutes, see below for further details – these are limited capacity so advanced booking is highly recommended!


All of our Steam Open Day attractions are located at Buckfastleigh Station, Buckfastleigh, TQ11 0DZ (just off the A38 and approximately half-way between Exeter and Plymouth). Please note that our stations at Staverton and Totnes Riverside are closed due to engineering work.

Steam Brake Van rides

Whilst most of our railway is closed as we undertake another major investment to upgrade our track just over a mile away from Buckfastleigh, we are offering rides in an original “Toad” – a GWR Brake Van that would have been seen on the back of goods trains in years gone by. This is a rare experience giving the opportunity for some stunning views from the open veranda.

The brake van rides depart from Buckfastleigh platform, and travel approximately a mile round trip to “Nursery Pool Bridge”, where the railway crosses the river Dart. The train will pause here, allowing a chance to watch the magnificent river flow underneath you, before returning back to Buckfastleigh.

The ride lasts for approximately 10 minutes. The fare is a flat fare of £4 per person. Please note that children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. The brake van veranda is open to the elements and therefore it is recommended to wrap up warm for your ride. We regret that, due to the heritage nature of the vehicle, wheelchair access is not available.

Capacity is limited to 10 people per brake van ride – we recommend booking in advance although tickets will be available on the day if availability permits. Book your tickets at –

Steam Driver Experience

Jump at the chance to take to the controls of our Great Western Railway steam locomotive, experiencing the thrill of being on the footplate.

A 10 minute experience will start with a safety briefing from our experienced driver, who will then let you take to the controls as you drive the engine to Nursery Pool Bridge, where the railway crosses the river Dart, before returning to Buckfastleigh, a journey of approximately 1 mile.

Please note that the footplate is a hot place and some physical effort is required, so you must be in reasonable health and able to fully understand and follow important verbal and visual instructions. Unfortunately this experience is only available to those who are 18 years of age or older.

Each slot is for one person only, and there are no passengers travelling on the train during the driver experience.

These are expected to be very popular so booking in advance is highly recommended. Tickets are available at –

Heritage carriage cream tea experience

Need a refreshment stop during your visit? Why not enjoy a traditional Devon Cream Tea, served to your seat in one of our heritage carriages, stationary in the platform at Buckfastleigh. A full buffet service is available, including hot and cold drinks and light refreshments, all of which can be enjoyed in the comfort of our 1950s-built carriage.

No booking is necessary for our cream tea experience.

Other things to see and do

We have lots of other attractions at Buckfastleigh, just some of which are detailed below. Entry to all the below is free, and no booking is required. As a charity we do rely upon your support, and therefore any donations you can make during your visit will be greatly appreciated, to help us keep preserving the our past for the future.

South Devon Railway Museum

See "Tiny", the only surviving Broad Gauge steam locomotive, along with many other artefacts in our museum.

Buckfastleigh Signal Box

Visit the original Buckfastleigh Signal Box, and even have a go pulling levers and learn how trains used to be signalled across the UK.

Play Park and Gardens

Enjoy our children's play park or take a stroll through our extensive gardens, taking in some early signs of spring.

Diesel Cab Visits

Climb inside the driver's cab of one of our mainline diesel locomotives, and get up close to the controls to see just how drivers controlled trains in these now heritage vehicles.

Model Railway Display

Visit our model railway, located within our Gift and Model shop.

Riverside Walk

Take a stroll along our Riverside Walk, located at the end of our car park, running alongside the river Dart.