This week we have a look at the Dawlish Donkey specials that operated from Exeter to Newton Abbotuntil the year 2000and from Exeter to Paigntonin 2001 & 2002.

Early ones were over the Easter Bank holiday weekends and the later ones the August Bank Holiday.


1998 saw Collett designed GWR 0-4-2T No.1450 running with 4 coaches and putting in some sparkling performances on it’s 3 trips per day to Newton Abbot.

A good video of thiscan be found at

Built at Swindon in 1935 this loco no longer does main line work but can still be seen in action on the Severn Valley Railway up at Kidderminster.

It was one of 3 engines used in “The Titfield Thunderbolt” film, luckily for it not the one that was damaged beyond repair in a staged accident in the film!

Nearer home is No.1420 which is based at Buckfastleigh on the South Devon Railway.


In 1999 the load was increased to 7 coaches and a bigger engine was needed and fulfilled by BR Standard 4MT tank 80079. Built at Brighton Worksin 1954 this engine has been cosmetically restored and forms part of the loco display in the Highley Engine House museum on the Severn Valley railway.


In 2000 A different member of the class 80098 again built at Brighton Works in 1954 was the train engine. There were a total of 155 built in this class of engine

This engine now is based at the Midland Railway centre at Butterley in Derbyshire


2001brought the engine often referred to as “The Pocket Rocket” BR Standard 76079 as it put in some stirring performances on it’s twice a day trips from Exeter to Paignton.

This engine is now based on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and is used on the services that leave the preserved line to venture up to Whitby.


Lastly in 2002 the engine was one of Ian Riley’s LMS Black 5’s No.45407which at that time was masquerading as an already scrapped named loco No. 45157 The Glasgow Highlander (one of only 4 out of the total of 842 Black 5’s that were built to be given a name). It is now still named but as “The Lancashire Fusilier”, a name that has only been used in preservation.


My pictures were taken at that time when digital was in it’s infancy I used a 35mm film camera. ConsequentlyI have had to provide my pictures by using my photocopier to get them into the computer so regrettably they aren’t quite of the quality that you get nowadays with digital but hope you find them interesting nevertheless.

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All Pictures used remain the property and copyright of Colin Campbell.