Tiny 0-4-0WT South Devon Railway (Broad Gauge)

Power ClassificationUnclassified
CompanySouth Devon Railway
Driving Wheels3ft 0ins
Boiler Pressure
CylindersOutside – 9in x 12in
Tractive Effort
Valve Gear

Tiny was built by Sara & Co in 1868. This rather strange, diminutive vertical boilered locomotive is unique as it is the only surviving locomotive built to Brunel’s broad gauge of 7′ 0.1/4″ of the hundreds that ran on the GWR before the broad gauge was abandoned in favour of Stephenson’s narrow (or standard) gauge in May 1892.

It was used on the Sutton Harbour Branch in Plymouth and was later given GWR No. 2180 in 1876 when the South Devon Railway was amalgamated with the Great Western Railway.

According to a copy of the Great Western Railway Magazine in the 1930s:

‘The Tiny is the last actual surviving broad gauge locomotive in existence. It was built by Sara & Co., of Plymouth, in 1868 and used for shunting purposes in Newton Abbot yard until the early (eighteen) eighties. It passed into the ownership of the Great Western Railway Company with other of the South Devon Railway’s rolling stock when the latter company became amalgamated with the former in 1876, and for some years afterwards was used, with one of it flanged wheels removed and a pulley wheel substituted, as a spare stationary engine for working the pumps in the boiler house at Newton Abbot locomotive shops. On the rebuilding of Newton Abbot station a few years ago, the opportunity was taken to superannuate the Tiny and to place it on public exhibition.’

The public exhibition in question was a plinth on the station, where Tiny was placed in 1927 where it remained for 53 years until moving to Buckfastleigh in 1980.

Interestingly, though, it appears the GWR were not entirely correct in their assertion as to the location of Sara & Co. According to eminent local historian, Maurice Dart, there is no record of a company of that name in Plymouth. However, there was a Sara & Co in Penryn, Cornwall. A direct descendent, Mr Michael Sara, has confirmed that, indeed, Tiny was built in Penryn.

One of three built, each carried a small bunker of coal and 80 gallons of water. Its two classmates were converted to standard gauge and eventually scrapped.

Tiny is part of the National Collection and is on display in the museum of the South Devon Trust. Tiny is the only surviving broad gauge locomotive in existence as all of the others are replicas.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
South Devon Trust Museum at South Devon RailwayOn static displayNational Railway Museum

NRM Object Number{1978-7017}

Tiny at Buckfastleigh on what was then the Dart Valley Railway – April 1980
Tiny at Buckfastleigh – April 2018

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