Narrow Gauge Lines
Bicton Woodland Railway
Locale England, Dates of operation 1963–Present
Track gauge, 1 ft 6 in (457 mm), Length 1359 yards
Headquarters Budleigh Salterton
The Bicton Woodland Railway is a narrow gauge railway running in gardens in the grounds of Bicton House near Budleigh Salterton in Devon.
The line was built in 1962 as a tourist attraction for visitors to the house. Most of the rolling stock was acquired from the Royal Arsenal Railway, Woolwich, with two locomotives, Woolwich and Carnegie coming from that source, as well as seven goods wagons which were reduced to their frames and converted to passenger carriages. It opened to passengers in 1963. Originally locomotives and carriages had royal blue livery.
Additional rolling stock was acquired from the RAF Fauld railway and the internal railway of the LNWR Wolverton works.
In 1998 the Bicton Gardens were put up for sale and the railway put into hiatus. The new owners sold the line’s existing stock and in 2000 took delivery of a 5.5-tonne diesel-powered replica tank engine. The line’s original equipment was purchased by the Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills museum at Waltham Abbey.
A treat for all ages
A scenic ride around the park on Bicton Woodland Railway is a treat for children and grown-ups alike. It’s also something special for railway enthusiasts, because BWR runs on the only 18-inch (457 mm) gauge leisure line left in Britain. The train operates all year, making regular 25-minute trips, for which there is a small extra charge.
The train departs from Bicton Station and winds its way through the Pinetum, home to many of our champion trees, to Hermitage Station at the far end of the park. From there, it takes you back along the banks of the Great Lake to complete its journey of around 1.5 miles (2.4 km).
Custom built for us in 2000, our replica tank engine Sir Walter Raleigh was named after the 16th-century adventurer, who was born near Bicton. The 5.5-tonne loco hauls up to four 24-seater coaches, all of which are roofed to keep you dry on rainy days.