Steam day out fit for a Queen

Sunday 22nd May 2022 11:00 am

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ALL ABOARD for Her Majesty!

Ashburton has come up with its own way of celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – a steam train special, courtesy of the South Devon Railway (SDR).

It’s just one of the events being planned by the town’s Queen’s Platinum Jubilee committee, and it just so happens that one member of the committee, Charlie Dennis, is an engine driver on the railway.

He said: ‘The committee came up with the suggestion and the SDR readily agreed to lay on the special.’

The day out on Friday, June 3 will take passengers from Buckfastleigh to Totnes and back.

Charlie explained: ‘It’s a by invitation-only event as spaces are limited and they’re nearly all taken now.’

The nearly 200 lucky passengers will include 100 pupils and parents from Ashburton Primary School, 50 pensioners, 25 members of the town’s Memory Cafe and other specially invited guests.

The railway company, which has just celebrated its 150th anniversary, is even laying on a Routemaster bus to ferry people from the town to the station in Buckfastleigh.

Ernie Elsworth-Wilson, SDR general manager said: ‘We are delighted to be able to support Ashburton with this special trip. The SDR is very proud to be involved in this community effort and we’re eploring other events with the town council.’

Charlie added: ‘The people of Ashburton are very grateful to the SDR for laying on the train and bus, and although the trip is full there are plenty of other opportunities to celebrate the occasion, including street parties where everyone is invited!’

SDR operations manager Alasdair Page, left and driver Charlie Dennis preparing the engine for the 150th anniversary gala.

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