Special train trip through Devon marks 50 years of the Dart Steam Railway Company

  • Watch Sam Blackledge's report

A special charter train has been running from Paignton to Kingswear to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dart Steam Railway Company.

The organisation took over running the picturesque line in 1973, and on Friday (19 May), former staff, managers and families gathered to mark the birthday.

The steam train is beloved by both locals and tourists.

Former company director Barry Coger said: "Absolutely marvellous. I can't believe it, it's flown by. I had a job and a hobby in one, and it's so pleasing I've managed to get 20 plus people who actually worked with me in 1973.

"People can remember steam trains, they pass it on to their children and it's unique. We've got to keep things going, there are a lot of heritage railways all around the country. Some are struggling a little bit. I've got to say this one is doing exceptionally well."

Rowena Houghton's father founded the company. Credit: ITV News

Rowena Houghton's father, Bob Saunders, founded both the South Devon Railway and the Dartmouth Steam Railway.

"We are so very proud of him," she said.

"This is a wonderful day of celebration for people that were here back then and all that they did for this railway.

"It ran right up until the end of December 1972 and run again on the first day of '73. So it was a continuous effort by everybody to keep this wonderful railway going. It's grown now to all the boats, a real family affair. Steam is in our hearts."

TV and radio presenter Judi Spiers added: "It's just fantastic. What makes it so special is the company itself and it's fantastic that it's lasted so long and please God another 50 years as well."