All Aboard for a Weekend of Railway History

A wide variety of local young people with learning disabilities have been experiencing a number of activities in different locations along the South Devon Railway’s Train Line.

This coming weekend – Saturday and Sunday 1-2 September – will see the culmination of the project.

Films, music, dance and art exhibitions will greet visitors to the railway this weekend in a two-day creative take-over of the line, with new artworks, performances and digital media installations all made by the young people, marking 60 years since the line closed to the public in 1958.

All Aboard, a project supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has enabled 50 young people to learn about our steam railway and to work with artists to find new ways to interpret local history. Their research has included riding on the trains, visiting museums, talking to those who remember catching the train when it was part of the public transport system, and interviewing railway visitors. The South Devon Railway is a fully accessible heritage railway operated largely by volunteers and steam engines, and it is important for everyone to know about and understand their local history. The Totnes to Ashburton line first opened in 1872, and the coming of the railway had a huge impact on the area. This project has helped another generation connect with their heritage.

New and original artworks will be displayed all across the railway on 1-2 September, including films in the Picnic Coach and museum at Buckfastleigh and sound, sculpture, prints and drawings in the waiting rooms in Totnes and Staverton. Later in the month, a new documentary will be broadcast on Soundart Radio (, featuring local songs about the train between Totnes and Ashburton.

Come along at the weekend and see what the project has been about, you will be very welcome indeed. Many of the artists who have facilitated the project will be at one or other of the locations – everywhere on the line is involved – and there is no doubt that this is a great scheme for the South Devon Railway. If you really want to get a feel for the project and didn’t catch this evening’s BBC Spotlight, do have a look on our Facebook as a clip of the news article will be going out this evening.

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