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Friday 13th March 2020 South Devon Railway, Buckfastleigh TQ11 0DZ

A full day’s photography on an idyllic branch line using 4555 at the head of a short passenger train

Join us for a day of photography using 4555 during its short working visit to the South Devon Railway heading a traditional Western Region branch line short passenger set on a line ideal for this combination


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About this event

We are delighted to offer this fantastic opportunity for a full day of photography at the picturesque South Devon Railway using Small Prairie No.4555 which is paying a very short working visit to the line. Our day will start and finish at Buckfastleigh where there is ample free parking. We will use the locomotive on a short passenger train which should look ideal on this quintessential Western Region branch line.
No.4555 was built in 1924 and was originally shedded at Tyseley Depot. It worked in Wales out of Machynlleth and Pwllheli depots and ended it’s career in the West Country, being withdrawn from Plymouth Laira Depot in November 1963. The loco was purchased by two Midlands-based enthusiasts, Pat Garland and Pat Whitehouse, and could still be seen in main line action locally around Birmingham after it had been secured for preservation. No.4555 received a light overhaul and came with a kit of spare parts including a reserve boiler, this being the final boiler to be overhauled at Wolverhampton Works. It is particularly appropriate for it to be visiting the South Devon Railway as, back in 1969, the locomotive hauled the first public train on the preserved SDR (then the Dart Valley Railway) and also worked the last BR-era goods over the line in 1962. Transfer to what is now the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway came in 1973 where it has remained based ever since, and the engine has recently benefitted from a major overhaul.
4555 is being out-shopped in Great Western Livery as she was in early preservation. We are planning to have her at the head of 2 or 3 GW Liveried Collett Coaches.

It is great to have been offered this limited opportunity to use 4555 during its short visit to the South Devon Railway. There are few more appropriate lines on which to photograph a Western Region ‘Small Prairie’ and we hope you will wish to join us for a day of Spring steam with a charming locomotive on a former Great Western branch line.

Our day will run from 07.30 - circa 17.30.

Event requirements


  • Spare batteries
  • Camera
  • Lense cloths
  • Lenses
  • Camera protection - rain covers etc


  • All levels welcome


  • Low

Other essentials

  • Sturdy outdoor shoes
  • Warm clothing
  • Wet weather gear

Event location

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