Tag Archives: Devon Belle

Picture of the Month – July 2017

This months picture…

Bulleid Merchant Navy class 21C14 ‘Nederland Line’ built from a Millholme kit, heads to London with the up Devon Belle having taken over the train at Wilton. Adams O2 built from a Wills kit, shunts the ash wagon on shed. My Grandfather, a Ganger, can be seen taking a break leaning on his ballast fork near the platelayers hut.

Picture of the Month – September 2016

This months picture…

Drummond T14 class No. 30461, built from a NuCast kit, is turned at Fisherton Sarum whilst Bulleid Merchant Navy class 21C14 ‘Nederland Line’ built from a Millholme kit, heads to London with the up Devon Belle having taken over the train at Wilton.

Picture of the Month – April 2015

This months picture…

Bulleid Light Pacific 34011 ‘Tavistock’ in early British Railways experimental Apple Green livery head the Up Devon Belle past Fisherton Shed where a WD class 2-8-0 can just be seen at the coaling stage, while Z Class number 957 pushes loaded coal wagons up the coal stage ramp.

Talking stock #20 The Devon Belle

The “Devon Belle” Pullman service between London Waterloo and Ilfracombe with a portion to Plymouth did not in reality last for long as named train services go. It was introduced by the Southern Railway on 20th June 1947 and lasted until September 1954. Usually the train was worked from London to Exeter with Merchant Navy class pacifics and was then split with a four coach portion heading to Plymouth and the remaining eight (sometimes up to ten) coaches including the iconic observation car heading to Ilfracombe both portions usually behind Bulleid Light Pacifics.

Light Pacific 34011 ‘Tavistock’ in experimental Apple Green livery heads the London bound Devon Belle deputising for the more usual Merchant Navy Class

At the time it was the only service to as advertised run ‘non stop’ from Waterloo to Exeter i.e. not stopping at Salisbury, although in reality an unadvertised stop was made at Wilton (the next station to the west of Salisbury) to change engines. This resulted in light engine movements between Wilton and Salisbury in each direction.

Merchant Navy 21C14 shows off the iconic Devon Belle headboard and deflector wing plates

To meet the needs of up and down services two Devon Belle rakes were formed along with two popular observation cars on the Ilfracombe portion. These observation cars, numbered 13 and 14, were converted from other coaches, with the origins of No 14 being an ex LNWR Ambulance car which was converted into a Pullman car in 1921 before being ultimately converted for its role as an observation car. With the decline in passenger numbers first the number of operating days was reduced, then from 1950 the Plymouth section ceased and ultimately the final Ilfracombe Devon Belle service was run in September 1954.

Passengers having paid the supplement enjoy the view from the ’00 Works’ Devon Belle observation car

A representation of the Devon Belle has been one of the signature trains on Fisherton Sarum since the layouts first public appearance in November 2006. My rake, albeit not a full 12 /14 coaches for space reasons is formed from Hornby Pullman coaches along with a brass observation car from ‘00’ Works prior to the later introduction of the Hornby model.  I have both a light Pacific 34011 ‘Tavistock’ (in early British Railways apple green livery) and a Merchant Navy Pacific 21C14 ‘Nederland Line’ decorated with the iconic Devon Belle head board and smoke deflector wing plates for operating this train. Where possible we also include the light engine movement from the shed to the west towards Wilton and back.