Dartmouth Steam Railway Case Study
Dartmouth Steam Railway Case Study

Case Study: The Dartmouth Steam Railway



Based on the South Devon coastline in South West England the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy the delights of Torquay, Paignton, Brixham, Dartmouth and the River Dart, Kingswear and Totnes on its steam trains boats and paddle steamer and is a very popular tourist attraction.


The steam locomotives owned and used by Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company are thoroughbred locomotives dating back as far as the 1920s. For many reasons, including the addition of chemicals to counteract the effects of lead piping in the Torbay area, the company found the water supplied by the local water company was impacting negatively on the boilers in the locomotives.


Lubron UK supplied Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company with a Reverse Osmosis Plant to produce pure water for use in the locomotives’ boilers. Lubron has a service contract to maintain the plant.

Our Q&A with Andrew Pooley, Managing Director of Steam Railway and River Boat Company

Q. From a company perspective, what do you find particularly challenging with regards to water treatment and what resolutions to these challenges have you sought previously?

A. Some of our locomotives date back to the 1920s, and it is important for us to maintain their condition at optimum levels. The water our local water provider supplied us with was treated with chemicals to counteract the effects of lead piping in Torbay and was having a detrimental impact on the boilers in our engines. We tried to remedy this by adding products ourselves, but it was not effective.

Q. What equipment/ services does Lubron UK provide and what made you chose them?

A. Lubron has installed a Reverse Osmosis Plant that provides pure water for use in our engines. They also have the service contract for the plant. We chose Lubron because of the evidence of their long-term abilities and credibility. We received cheaper quotes but felt Lubron would provide better value for money overall.

Q. What, if anything, did you find outstanding about the service Lubron provided you with?

A. From the beginning, we were impressed with Lubron. The drawings we were supplied with were user-friendly and good quality. The service including installation has been within set timescales and ran smoothly. As an ongoing contract, the real proof of its success won’t be seen for several years, but I have no reason to doubt that the lives of our engines will not be extended as a result of the pure water the RO plant provides.

Q. What, if anything, could have been done better?

A. Lubron wasn’t the cheapest option! Having said that, I cannot fault the quality of their provision, and I have very little to do with them; that tells me they are doing everything right.

Q. Would you recommend Lubron to other potential customers?

A. I already have! A number of railways have asked me for Lubron’s details. it is pertinent that over the past 2-3 seasons we have had to hire locomotives in to facilitate our ongoing maintenance programme. the owners of those hired engines are very happy to learn that we have our own RO plant and will only use pure water in their boilers.