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Sunday 8th March 2020 Queens Park Station, Torbay Rd, Paignton TQ4 6AF

Join us at Paignton for a very limited chance to photograph GWR 4555 with a charter passenger train.

Return to the earlier days of preservation as GWR Small Prairie No.4555 makes a fleeting visit to its home branch line at Paignton hauling a short passenger train comprising chocolate and cream stock.


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About this event

A day of Great Western branch line action sees us beside the sea at the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway. Our locomotive for the day is Great Western Railway 4500 Class 2-6-2T No.4555 which is paying a very brief working visit to its home line where it was a stalwart of services in the line’s earlier preservation years of the 1970s. The engine has recently returned to steam following a major overhaul. It is contracted to other lines for several years and therefore this is a rare opportunity to photograph 4555 hauling a charter on its home line. 

Our day will start and finish at Paignton where there is paid parking near to the Railway adjacent to the main line station. We will run with passenger stock throughout and will return for a short lunch break in Paignton while the locomotive is coaled and watered. The bakery directly opposite the railway station will be open from 06.00 and it will be possible to obtain food at lunchtime. We will meet for our customary but important safety briefing at the PDSR station at 06.45 before heading out onto the line for our first early morning shots around Goodrington just after 07.00. 

We will have to take water more often than when we use the line’s larger locomotives and to facilitate this the Railway will base a temporary supply at Churston for use during the charters. We will also transfer between some locations using a bus provided by the Railway as this will allow us to change locations while 4555 is being watered. This will be the most efficient use of our photography time, giving us over five hours of run-past opportunities during the day. 

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 It worked in Wales out of Machynlleth and Pwllheli depots and ended it’s career in the West Country, being withdrawn from Plymouth Laira Depot in November 1963.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. 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.

The Paignton & Dartmouth Railway is a picturesque branch line boasting several impressive viaducts, seaside running and views across the river. There are a multitude of photographic opportunities available, so why not join us for what promises to be an excellent day at the lineside. 

Event requirements


  • Spare batteries
  • Camera
  • Filters
  • Lenses
  • Camera protection - rain covers etc


  • All levels welcome


  • Low

Other essentials

  • High vis jacket
  • Sturdy outdoor shoes
  • Warm clothing
  • Wet weather gear

Event location

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