THE last remaining Steam Railmotor will be the star attraction at South Devon Railway's gala during half term week.
Over a century after a Steam Railmotor last ran down the Dart Valley, the recently restored sole survivor of the design will feature at the Western Branch Line Gala from Saturday, February 16, to Sunday, February 24.
South Devon Railway Trust general manager Dick Wood said: "It's a very unusual and striking machine, but effectively the steam-age 'grandfather' of all modern diesel and electric multiple unit trains in which the driver simply changes from one cab to another rather than hooking a locomotive on and off the train."
Steam Railmotor No. 93 was constructed in 1908. It was one of 99 built by the Great Western Railway to help deal with growing passenger numbers and compete with electric tramways. It was converted to an auto trailer in 1935 and used as a mobile railway office from 1956. It was rescued in 1970 by Great Western Society members and restored to its former glory at a cost of £1million, using significant support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
After the gala, the Steam Railmotor will go 'on tour' on the West Somerset Railway.
The gala aims to showcase rail travel in the West Country from 1900 through to the 1960s and the advent of the first diesels.
For more information about the gala, including the line-up, and also the Winter Ale Festival at Staverton Station on both weekends, visit www.southdevonrailway.co.uk. For ticket reservations call 01364 644370 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.