Reunion as ‘last train’ marked
STAFF at the South Devon Railway dressed in black and placed a wreath on the front of a steam engine to mark the 60th anniversary of the last train from Totnes to Ashburton, which ran in November 1958.
There was even a reunion for three of the 1950s children who used the train to travel to school every day.
Sandra Coleman, Janet Masters and Cathie Sparkes have been friends ever since, and cut a special cake to mark the occasion.
The line opened originally in 1872 providing a service to its rural community for 86 years.
But, unlike most West Country rural branch lines which succumbed to the infamous Beeching Axe of the 1960s, this one had a much brighter and interesting future.
It has now enjoyed a new life for nearly 50 years since 1969
Sandra Coleman, Janet Masters and Cathie Sparkes mark the last train in 1958 with steam hauled heritage train services operating between Totnes and Buckfastleigh, now run by the South Devon Railway Trust.
The SDR Trust Museum marked the withdrawal of timetabled services with commemorative displays, including photographs, personal memories from people who used the line, and a variety of objects from those early days.
The steam locomotive work- ing the day’s trains carried a headboard bearing the legend Totnes to Ashburton Last Train 1958-2018. The wreath was ceremonially carried to the front of the locomotive and there was a eulogy for the passing of the much-lamented train service.
The SDR also ran a special, evening steam hauled service which returned from Totnes at the same time as the last train did 60 years ago, arriving back in Buckfastleigh at 9.21pm.