The Torbay Express

Experience train travel as it used to be

We look forward to welcoming you aboard in 2019. Sign up for our newsletter to be among the first to hear of new dates

Our summer Sunday steam hauled train, named after the famous train that travelled between London Paddington and Torquay, follows the route of Brunel’s picturesque Great Western Railway, speeding across the Somerset levels and around the beautiful Devon coastline on one of the most enchanting railway journeys in the world. Our route takes us alongside the River Exe, past Powderham Castle and Dawlish Warren, then along Dawlish's famous Sea Wall, steaming through the red sandstone tunnels and cuttings that skirt the beaches. Next we follow the River Teign and head past Newton Abbot racecourse, before passing through Torquay and on to our first destination, Paignton.  You can spend about five hours here exploring this traditional seadside resort with its sandy beach, the pier dating from 1879; there is also the renowned Paignton Zoo. Alternatively, you can stay aboard when we transfer onto the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway to alight at Kingswear, where you can take the foot ferry (included in the price) to historic Dartmouth. A day out in our heritage carriages, with slam doors and opening windows, is a chance to sit back, relax and enjoy a rail journey from a bygone era when steam was king and everyone travelled to their summer holiday on the English Riviera aboard a train. 

Pamper yourself and travel in Premier Dining where you will be served a glass of Buck’s Fizz before your full English breakfast. On the homeward journey you will have a glass of Champagne, a four course dinner, followed by coffee (or tea) and chocolates. The catering on the train is by Frying Scotsman Catering Services led by Alan ‘Dutch’ Holland, whose extensive experience includes working on the Royal trains.

We are happy to welcome aboard customers who have mobility equipment that requires storing on the train. As storage space is limited, the equipment must be foldable or demountable. We recommend lightweight equipment be brought to facilitate this. Please note that we do not carry any equipment for loan purposes on the trains - please bring along that which will make your day out manageable.Often, we only have very limited stopping time at the stations - usually 2 to 3 minutes. Stewards are there to welcome all passengers onto the train and may not have the time to assist every individual who has equipment to manoeuvre. Travelling with a companion who can help you on and off the train would be beneficial. 

All bookings are subject to our Terms & Conditions of Booking.

The Torbay Express has in 2017, for the third year running, been awarded the awarded the 


Certificate of Excellence !

“Loved it. Chuffed to bits you could say!”

5 of 5 stars
Reviewed June 2018

“Fabulous trip with over 200 miles behind steam!!"

5 of 5 stars
Reviewed June 2018

“Great day out"

5 of 5 stars 
Reviewed 21 August 2017

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On Track

Paignton - Spend a break of up to five hours enjoying a relaxed time in this seaside resort where you can take a dip in the sea on the magnificent sea front; try the arcades or ice cream parlours.

Dartmouth - Alight at Kingswear and take the ferry (included in the ticket price) across the River Dart to spend four hours exploring this picturesque and historic town. Local attractions include:
• The nearby National Trust properties of Greenway House (former home of Agatha Christie)
Coleton Fishacre (the former country home of the D'Oyly Carte family)
The Britannia Royal Naval College (giving an insight into the Royal Navy)
Dartmouth Castle
• Cruises on the River Dart (including aboard paddle steamer Kingswear Castle - the last remaining coal-fired paddle steamer in operation in the UK today

Our steam train trips follow two different routes, both start from Bristol Temple Meads, then pick-up passengers from either:
• Bath Spa, Trowbridge and, Westbury; or
• Yatton, Weston-super-Mare;

Last passenger pick-up on both routes is Taunton. Sadly, because of time constraints Premier Dining is not available to passengers boarding here.

Departure from Bristol Temple Meads is at approximately 08:00 or 09:15 (depending on the route) on its scenic journey to the West and the spectacular coastal route skirting Torquay.  Arrival back in Bristol is at about either 20:10 or 20:55.

If you are arranging a booking for larger group (ten plus) please contact the Booking Office on 01453 835414 / 834477 (open Monday to Friday 09:15 to 16:45). 
Passengers who book a cruise on the paddle steamer 'Kingswear Castle' direct with the operators can claim 10% discount.

Book with Confidence; The Torbay Expresses are running in 2018 steal hauled all the way from Bristol!

We take the safety of our customers very seriously indeed and insist that the Train Operating Companies we select for our excursions take this matter as seriously as we do. Thus we engage only reputable Train Operating Companies with a proven record of safety and reliability.

The Torbay Express is operated by trusted Train Operating Company DB Cargo, whose reputation is second to none as befits a respected international company with a long history. Bookings can be made in the knowledge that each train will run to the highest industry standards, with your safety and welfare as an absolute priority.

Here is some footage of the first Torbay Express of 2015 and some of summer 2014:
Sunday 6 July 2014 courtesy of Kristian Gough
Sunday 3 August 2014 courtesy of Callum Willcox at Nailsea and Backwell station

Torbay Express Sample Menu


A refreshing glass of chilled Bucks Fizz

Followed by the choice of:

Trio of melon smothered in yogurt drizzled with hone and sprinkled with toasted chopped almonds


Cornflakes, muesli, Special K


Scott’s Porridge Oats and Cream

The Toast Basket

Toasted Farmhouse white or wholemeal bread, morning rolls, croissants. Served with a selection of preserves, marmalade or Marmite

The Grill Tray

Grilled back bacon, Cumberland Sausage, tomato, fried egg, fried bread, saute mushrooms, hash browns and baked beans


Kipper fillets and lemon wedge

The Second Toast Basket

Freshly brewed tea and coffee


Chef’s Cream of Tomato Soup


Prawn and Smoked Salmon Roulade

Mixed Salad with Citrus Dressing

Bread roll and butter


The Torbay Roast

Roasted 21-day aged Birchstead Beef

Yorkshire Pudding served with a rich dark gravy

Horseradish Sauce

Boiled new potatoes

Roast potatoes

Chantenay Carrots

Petit Pois



Chocolate box

Raspberry coulis


The Cheese Board

A selection of cheeses: 

Double Gloucester, Cornish Yarg, Cropwell Bishop Stilton 

served with grapes, savoury biscuits and fruit chutney

Freshly brewed tea and coffee

Frying Scotsman chocolates.