Rhino rides the rails!

As The Great Big Rhino Trail prepares to launch, one rhino is making a grand entrance - pulled by a steam train!

Paignton By Numbers is sponsored by the Dartmouth Steam Railway and Riverboat Company. He will stand on the platform at Kingswear station - and travel down from Paignton on his own special train.

Sereny Damon, from the steam railway, said: “This is a collaboration rhino, a destination rhino, celebrating family holidays, steam railways, the beach, the pier, pleasure cruisers and the countryside. He’s making his way to his holiday home at Kingswear by train!”

The public will not be able to ride on the train, but they will be able to watch it go by. Paignton By Numbers departs from Paignton station at 11.30 on Friday 22nd July aboard his special train to Kingswear. He will stop at Churston station (arriving 11.50) before reaching Kingswear station (arriving 12.10). At Kingswear, Paignton By Numbers will be installed as part of The Great Big Rhinos free summer art trail - but he’ll be kept under wraps until the official start of the trail on Saturday 30th July. 

Peter Roach, Operations Manager, said: “We often see passengers accompanied by their faithful four legged friends, but we have never had a rhino on board before. We hope everyone will enjoy tracking down the rhinos across South Devon over the summer and through public support the rhino will be saved from extinction, just as steam locos were saved in the 1960s.”

Paignton by Numbers, designed by artist Rachel Shilston, is a play on words, taking its inspiration from the DIY ‘painting by numbers’ kits popular with children. The rhino is painted to appear unfinished but does feature some of Paignton’s favourite landmarks, including the Zoo, the pier and the beach huts at Goodrington Sands. 

Andrew Pooley, Managing Director, said: “There’s a natural connection between rhinos and steam engines - they both look ironclad, they both snort and steam when they are at full tilt, they are both endangered species - and they are both wonderful to see in their natural habitat!”

The Great Big Rhino Project is putting a free public art trail around the streets, parks and open spaces of Exeter and the English Riviera, encouraging thousands of people to enjoy the spectacle. The trail comes alive on Saturday 30th July. Twitter @Greatbigrhinos, hashtag #greatbigrhinos.


The engine
Loco 5542 was built at Swindon in 1928, it saw service throughout the South West until being withdrawn in 1961. It was rescued from Barry Scrapyard in South Wales in 1976. This loco is owned by 5542 Ltd and is usually based on the West Somerset Railway. It is currently on hire for the summer season. The crew on the day will be Richard Pyle (driver) and Jack Woodhams (fireman). Richard has been with the company for around 10 years and Jack for around 3.

The rhinos
Money raised will be channelled through Save the Rhino International. Rhinos have been around for 40 million years. There are five species: black, white, greater one-horned, Javan and Sumatran. All of these are threatened with extinction – three are Critically Endangered as defined by the IUCN (World Conservation Union). This means that they will not survive without massive and urgent action.

The artist
Rachel Shilston is based in the beautiful Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. She received the award for Creative Woman of the Year earlier this year in the Gloucestershire Business Awards.

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Published: 21st Jul

Great Big Rhinos finish on a high

Great Big Rhinos finish on a high

The Great Big Rhino Project has come to an end with a successful charity auction that raised £123,000.

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