Saturday 10th October 2015 is the date for a very special charity railtour using a GWR High Speed Train from London Paddington and intermediate stations running through to Buckfastleigh on the South Devon Railway, also visiting the mothballed Heathfield freight branch line. ‘The First Devon and Exeter Explorer HST Special’ is being run by GWR (the franchise succeeding FGW) in conjunction with the Branch Line Society, in aid of First Devon and Exeter Prostate Cancer Fund, with the aim of raising £20,000 for a portable scanner.
Timings are provisional and subject to Network Rail validation with pick up and set down at: London Paddington (07.15/20.39), Reading (07.42/20.08), Didcot Parkway (07.55/19.52), Swindon (08.15/ 19.33), Bristol TM (08.52/18.50), Taunton (09.25/ 18.02) and Exeter St. David’s (09.54/17.37) through P6 requested both ways. Then via Newton Abbot (through P1 requested), Totnes facing crossover at 222m 33ch to P2 (reverse) via the mainline connection onto the South Devon Railway to Buckfastleigh (11.15). Enjoy a break on the delightful South Devon Railway or this small market town with all its amenities and attractions. Given the length of a HST the front should be well beyond the end of the platform to clear the starting signal for return. There will be workshop tours and services operating on the SDR.
Departing at 11.25 the HST makes an extra optional return trip to Heathfield (12.44/12.55) also for local people, returning to Buckfastleigh at 14.47. It then picks up all the passengers from the main tour before departure at 15.02 to Heathfield again (16.22/16.42) then back to London Paddington. This might be the farewell railtour to the mothballed Heathfield branch which has had no booked traffic since the timber trains to Chirk were transferred to Exeter Riverside on 2 April 2015.
We are pleased to announce that the 125 Group sales stand will be on board the train, with a range of HST merchandise including mugs, DVDs and our new 2016 Calendar, with proceeds going to our preservation fund. A comprehensive catering service will also be available on board including real ales and freshly cooked food from the Travelling Chef, all proceeds from these services will be donated to charity. We hope you can join us on this very special charity HST railtour!
Standard class fares for pick up between London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads £75, or £50 from Taunton or Exeter St Davids. Special fare from Buckfastleigh – Buckfastleigh £25 which will be donated to South Devon Railway and the Devon Diesel Society. First class fares are not available and no child discounts on this occasion.
Our friends at the Branch Line Society are handling bookings for this special HST railtour, for full details including provisional timings and how to book tickets, see their website http://www.branchline.org.uk/events.php