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The August bank holiday, as it always seems to be, was a bit of a damp affair. The Devon Diesel Society’s beer festival continued on despite the down pours, numbers were strong for the whole weekend, real ale drinkers and railway fans are clearly not deterred by a few showers!

This is the second festival held in the newly refurbished waiting room-cum-bar, of which the Devon Diesel Society and Staverton Preservation Group have put a lot of work into to provide what is now a top class venue for the festival and a much needed waiting room for Staverton Station for the rest of the year. The final touches have been all completed since the last festival over the Jubilee weekend in May.
28th August 2012 - Rails and Ales.
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The Worcester Locomotive Group were based in the newly finished PW yard, the second time they have had their Pimms tent at the event. It was well patronised, helping them to raise money for their various restorations including Kitson built 5474 Carnarvon. A coach was also provided in the yard, giving more covered seating, which proved to be very useful for dodging the showers.

Staverton Preservation Group were providing hot and cold snacks, teas, coffees and soft drinks, with all proceeds going to help pay for the up keep and various projects around the station. This event has now become a large part of the income for the group and the money raised is certainly well spent keeping the station looking smart, possible one of the most ideal locations to watch the trains go by in South Devon.

Signal No. 36 - Ashburton Junction Up Main Home - was for the first time, in use whilst the ‘box operating as a temporary block post, which helped in keeping the intensive train service mostly to timetable over the duration of the event. Also at Ashburton Junction Signal Box, permissive working was in use on the platform road of Totnes Littlehempston Station, allowing for the first time, an Auto Train to arrive and depart from the platform, the service train having been shunted back towards the buffer stops to allow room to accommodate one coach and a loco.
Above; The outside of the new bar/waiting room.

Below; The inside of the new bar, showing the hard work that has been put in by the Devon Diesel Society and Staverton Preservation Group Members.
The event began on Friday 24th with the weather, as expected, not being favourable but not being so awful as to stop people from visiting. The service trains ran through the day, numbers were good, and the real ale began to flow at 11:00.

Saturday evening saw the arrival from Exeter St. David’s of First Great Western’s Class 150 - 150221. Departing from Exeter at 17:05 with arrival at Totnes mainline station at 17:55. Our signalman Alex Seal, who was temporary block post signalman, after setting the points at our end of the connection, met the train with Andy Matthews - who was acting as the South Devon Railway Pilot - at Totnes Mainline Station with our short section staff. The staff is then placed in an instrument at the station and Exeter Panel are contacted and asked for a release on the token. The signaller at Exeter Panel will press the release button allowing the token to be withdrawn and allowing the signal from Network Rail onto the South Devon Railway to be cleared.

The signaller at Exeter Panel happened to be non other, than one of our own Assistant Signalling Inspectors, Phil Bellamy. With Phil providing the release our other Assistant Signalling Inspector, Alex Seal, withdrew the Train Staff and handed it to the driver. With Andy and Alex on board the driver departed Totnes Main Line Station at 18:00 crossing over the connection and on to SDR metals, stopping to allow Alex to return to the signal box before continuing down the line for an arrival at Staverton Station of 18:20, plenty of punters on board, ready to sample some real ale. Once unloaded of passengers the 150 was stabled in the loop for two hours and our ‘Bubble Car’ - W55000 - worked two trips of the line, the FGW crew having a chance to drive it.
Above; Signal 36 at Ashburton Junction Signal Box.

Below; Image courtesy of Phil Bellamy, The view from Exeter Panel of the 150 coming on to the SDR.
The 150 departed Staverton at 20:30 for one trip to Buckfastleigh, it’s return at 21:10 was followed by a half hour rest in the platform before it departed for Totnes Mainline station on a ticket. Arrival of the Unit on the connection is alerted to Exeter Panel by way of track circuiting, the driver will then call the Panel from the phone on Signal E296 and confirm to the signaller where he is, what train he is driving and let the signaller know he is ready to depart when the road has been set and the signals cleared. Once the signals are cleared the driver can return to Network Rail metals, stopping at Totnes mainline station before returning to Exeter.

The train was almost completely full on arrival and departure from Staverton, a successful special, with thanks going to everyone involved with organising and running the service, both from First Great Western and South Devon Railway.
The 150 arriving at Bishops Bridge Signal Box Stabled in the loop at Bishops Bridge Stabled in the loop at Bishops Bridge Stabled in the loop at Bishops Bridge Stabled in the loop at Bishops Bridge Stabled in the loop at Bishops Bridge
Stabled in the loop at Bishops Bridge Stabled in the loop at Bishops Bridge Stabled in the loop at Bishops Bridge Stabled in the loop at Bishops Bridge The 150 on its' trip down the branch Old and new side by side
In Staverton Platform before departing back to Network Rail In Staverton Platform before departing back to Network Rail In Staverton Platform before departing back to Network Rail In Staverton Platform before departing back to Network Rail The 150 moving back on to Network Rail, image courtesy of Phil Bellamy The new bar at Staverton
Staverton Station before the arrival of the first customers An evening shot of Staverton Station all lit up for the event.
Sunday saw the weather improve, with the rain holding off and there was even sunshine around! It was another busy day with Pannier Tank 6430 - on loan from the Llangollen Railway - in charge of auto train shuttle services between Staverton and Totnes. Our ‘bubble car’ - W55000 - was running the shuttle services between Staverton and Buckfastleigh and once again was in charge of the evening services. South Devon Diesel Traction’s class 20 - D8110 - made three round trips with one of the services trains, with the class 2251 Collett Goods - 3205 - and pannier tank 1369 in charge of the other trips with the service trains.
After a busy few days a lot of the beers had sold out, but with lots of punters still present the evening was rounded off with Jon Morton’s infamous pub quiz, a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday evening, in good company, at an ideal location with a few real ales to help wash it down.

Monday was still busy despite the return of the bank holiday rain, with the service trains well patronised and the shuttle services too were not too short of numbers. The last train rumbled through Staverton at 17:45 hauled by the Class 20 - D8110 - and the bar was closed after a highly successful weekend. To which a great thanks is owed to all that helped organise and run, what is a top class event and a date in the diary not to be forgotten.
Above; A few of photographs taken on the Saturday, mostly of the 150 visiting.
Above; The Worcester Locomotive Group's Pimm's tent before opening on the Saturday and below, behind the diesel shunter is their Kitson 'Carnarvon'.