An enchanting experience reliving the golden era of travel, I took a ride on Dartmouth Steam Railway. You just have to try it! Celebrating 150 years this summer, the heritage steam railway stops at Kingswear, Greenway Halt (for Agatha Christie’s summer home), Churston, Goodrington and Paignton.
I chose to ride the most picturesque (in my opinion) Churston to Paignton section, which passes over a Brunel viaduct and hugs the coastline for stunning views over the beaches and bay.
Churston is a charming, traditional, Great Western Railway (GWR) station, complete with additions from yesteryear which make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Standing at the platform edge in the sun, listening to the old steam trains puffing their way down the track and round the corner into sight, little clouds of smoke escaping into the air, I felt like a child again.
Waiting excitedly for it to slow to a stop, I marvelled at the magnificent engine; the great feat of engineering and its beauty. If only the London tube was such a joy to ride!
Pulling out of the station past an old engine and turntable, you could feel the power and before long we were speeding over the viaduct and along the coastline, high above the beaches. A magical sound of times gone by, there is nothing quite like hearing the rhythmic chugging and chuffing of a steam train as it transports you, the old-fashioned way, to your destination.
From the carriage in between Churston and Goodrington stations, you have a beautiful view of Broadsands Beach and out to sea.
You think you’ve seen it all – until you get a bit further and clap eyes on Goodrington Beach and the coastline, weaving away into the distance.
Goodrington is a day out in itself, with cute little beach huts running behind the soft sandy beach, and plenty of amusements like crazy golf and Quaywest water park. The train leaves Goodrington along a tree-lined track and through part of Paignton town to the final stop.
As I hopped out onto the platform at Paignton’s GWR-style steam train station, I got a last chance to admire Goliath – and a nice picture. The Dartmouth Steam Railway is an experience that can’t be missed, whatever your age. Something I did as a child, I had forgotten how much I loved it!