In the summer of 1968, after much pestering of my parents, we went on holiday to South Devon. I had seen a photo of a train running by the sea wall at Dawlish in a magazine; fortunately the tide was out.

Knowing my mother’s love of sandy beaches, I tried the full-on persuasion technique; and it worked.

I didn’t take too many photos, because I couldn’t afford it, and what I did take were rubbish quality; but they bring back memories and this is my blog so they are included.

We stayed in a wooden ‘chalet’ (hut, basically) at Dawlish Warren – sadly not close to the railway. A camping coach in the station yard would have been nice, but let’s not be greedy.

On the first evening, 10th August, I copped all but three of these:-


D803 D804 D805 D821 D827 D837 D839 D843 D870

D1021 D1022 D1034 D1037 D1044 D1049 D1051 D1054 D1061 D1073

D1648 D1689 D1691 D1718 D1935


W50854 W50907 W50921 W59342 W59356



The following day was the 11th, and a very sad day; as the ’15 Guinea Special’ ran as the last steam hauled train on BR. Ten years earlier there had been around 12500 steam locos in service. Now there were none.

My spotting tally for the day was –

D803 D804 D812 D821 D823 D849 D852 D864 D868 D869 D870

D1014 D1016 D1021 D1040 D1049 D1071

D1653 D1911 D1926 D1940

D6310 D6311 D6334


W50865 W50921 W51307 W51322 W51388 W51351 W51571 W51584 W55029 W59474

d14 dawlish warren 17:8:68.jpg

D14 passes Dawlish Warren station with a train from the Sheffield area on 17th August 1968. A stay in a camping coach (left) would have been a dream come true.


As a family, we must have been visiting the local area because my notes jump many days; although I can’t remember the details of anything other than the railway.




My next visit to the lineside was 13th August, and I saw –

D811 D821 D803 D804 D820 D823 D824 D825 D827 D835 D836 D850 D861 D862 D867

D1012 D1019 D1021 D1032 D1035 D1050


W51128 W51141


On August 15th I caught the local train from Dawlish Warren station to Exeter. I’m not sure how many hours I had there, but St Davids had the bonus of services from Waterloo and a stabling point. My journeys were on Swindon 3-car dmus, which were a class above the Derby and Cravens units I was used to. There were tables, and curtains at the windows.

The spotting tally that day was –

D806 D808 D812 D818 D821 D824 D825 D832 D858 D860 D862 D865 D867

D1016 D1017 D1025 D1030 D1034 D1036 D1046 D1064 D1068 D1072


D4129 D4130

D6338 D6339



W50665 W50688 W50728 W50741 W51306 W51307 W51314 W51321 W51322 W51329 W51345 W51387 W51576 W51590 W56289 W59273 W59280 W59357 W59474 W59476 W59481 W59497 W59586


d1044 d817 d7093 ex 23:8:68.jpg

The view across to Exeter stabling point on 23rd August 1968. On view are D1044, D817 and D7093.


17th August was a Saturday, and I spent a few hours by the line near (or on) Langstone Rock in the afternoon. By that time most of the best condition locos had already gone on morning trains in either direction. Bath Road gave up some loco changes (especially with Brush 4s from Wales) and allowed locos to work trains throughout. Newton Abbot had to use as many serviceable 43s as they could muster.


This produced –

D14 D70

D800 D803 D805 D806 D809 D811 D818 D831 D835 D836 D837 D850 D863 D865 D870

D1019 D1020 D1023 D1027 D1043 D1048 D1059 D1061 D1067

D1597 D1605 D1606 D1607 D1913 D1921 D1927 D1938 D1979


W50854 W50857 W50900 W50907 W59346 W59352



d6310 exeter 23:8:68.jpg


D6310 heads a short transfer freight through St Davids on August 23rd 1968. Looking at my notes, the dmu in platform 4 is probably W51306 W59473 W51321.



On the 23rd, my mother volunteered to go shopping in Exeter. I stayed on the station for a couple of hours while she was gone. I saw,

D805 D809 D814 D817 D821 D824 D825 D831 D858 D869 D870

D1006 D1019 D1029 D1036 D1040 D1057

D1598 D1646

D4014 D4129



D7032 D7043 D7093

W51055 W59417 W51306 W51321 W51573 W51580 W51582 W51589 W59296 W59473 W59586


d7043 d6547 d805 d1029 ex 23:8:68.jpg

D7043 is ready do give D6574 assistance up the hill to Central station. Meanwhile D805 and D1029 await their departures to the West. 23rd August 1968.