About South Devon Railway Engineering

South Devon Railway Engineering is a wholly owned subsidiary of the South Devon Railway Trust, the charitable trust responsible for the running of the seven miles steam operated heritage branch line between Buckfastleigh and Totnes.

The engineering company was set up to run and manage the workshop facilities at Buckfastleigh where the working fleet of steam locomotives is maintained for the Trust. Over the last few years, the workshop facility has been expanded and a considerable throughput of contract work is now dealt with by the workforce.

The first major development was the expansion of the wheel turning and retyring facilities. The works can deal with wheels up to 6’ 8” in diameter and has obtained RISAS accreditation so that, in addition to dealing with wheels for other heritage railways, we can do work for Network Rail customers. All methods of fitting can be accommodated – Gibson Ring, riveted and ‘double nip’ fitting.

In 2010 the boiler repair business of R K Pridham Engineering was acquired and all the machinery and assets moved to Buckfastleigh to be housed in a new purpose built boiler repair shop. More importantly the skilled staff from Pridhams came to work for SDRE to complement our existing skilled team of engineers and the boiler section of the business now carries on much as before, in particular, concentrating on the pressing of large flanged boiler plates of the kind needed for steam locomotive fireboxes.

Our Workshop Manager is Rob Le Chevalier who has worked with steam at Buckfastleigh since he joined as an apprentice in 1985. His knowledge of Great Western steam and, indeed, steam in general takes a lot of beating. We can tackle all sorts of engineering challenges in the well equipped workshops. Many specialised machines have been acquired over the years. As a result we have one of the few remaining presses that can roll a Gibson Ring into a locomotive tyre; the only operational crank quartering machine in the country and one of very few large wheel presses for pressing axles in and out of the wheel centres.

We specialise in wheel work and boiler work and are also delighted to quote for anything to do with steam engineering. Phone Rob Le Chevalier on 01364 643461 or email us.