Full steam ahead for firm as they land prestigious award

Steam train with beach huts in foreground

The steam train at Goodrington - Credit: Submitted

The Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company has won a top award.

It has been named the winner in the 2021 Heritage Railway Association awards for Outstanding Visitor Attraction.

The annual awards are one of the major highlights of the heritage rail’s calendar and recognises achievements in a whole range of endeavours that span the sector and is hailed as the 'heritage railways highest honour'.

The HRA is the leading awards organisation honouring excellence among heritage railways and nominates and selects the awards which are comprised of industry experts.

The company was honoured at the online awards ceremony on Wednesday April 28. 

Managing director John Jones said the company has managed to pull through the toughest yearin its history - and more besides.

He said: “We are grateful to have survived one of the most challenging years any of us will have experienced in our working lives,  probably the most challenging.

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"Not only to have survived the year but then go on and win this award is very gratifying and myself, the board, management team and all our staff are very proud of the accolade bestowed on us.

"The whole team worked so hard to ensure we could open on July 6 after the spring lockdown last year and when we look back, the sheer number of safety features and ideas generated by everyone to ensure the highest level of safety for customers and staff alike is quite staggering.”

The Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the South West with regular steam train services between Paignton and Dartmouth.

The company also operates numerous boat services on the River Dart and from Torbay to Dartmouth and are also operators of the historic paddle steamer Kingswear Castle, the last remaining coal-fired paddle-steamer in the UK.

Like many other outdoor attractions, he company re-opened after the latest lockdown easing on Tuesday April 13 in line with Prime Minister Boris and his Covid road map.

Between then and May 17 they will be running steam trains each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Train times from Paignton.