Rail Lines - Past and Present - Cornwall

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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Mick F
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Rail Lines - Past and Present - Cornwall

Postby Mick F » 23 Jul 2019, 2:52pm

I'm approaching the end of my quest to ride to every 226 Parish Churches in Cornwall. Maybe finish it this autumn. 25 in the Far South West yet to do.

My thoughts have turned to another obsessional quest. Ride over all the over-bridges, all the under-bridges, all the level crossings, visit all the stations, take my bike on all the trains ........... of the Cornish lines.

In the same quest, to ride over all the over-bridges, all the under-bridges (and cuttings where the bridges have been removed) and the sites of all the stations on all the (Beeching) closed lines in Cornwall.

I've done a sort of outline for the Tamar Valley Line including the closed section north of Gunnislake, and done one for the Looe Valley Line too, plus one for the main line from The Border as far as Liskeard.

Still to look at the St Ives, the Newquay and the Falmouth branches, plus the main line all the way to Penzance.

Pouring over maps and older maps are required for the 1960s closed lines of course and there were lots of stations now long-since gone. This bit should be very interesting! :D
Mick F. Cornwall

brynpoeth
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Re: Rail Lines - Past and Present - Cornwall

Postby brynpoeth » 23 Jul 2019, 6:09pm

That should keep you out of trouble for a while :wink:
Might be worth reading 'Summer Saturdays in the West' by David St John Thomas
The LSWR was the better railway in the west of course. It ran the Ace, Atlantic Coast Express from Waterloo, 12 through coaches for 13 destinations :wink:
The GWR used slip coaches, a bit perverse. A coach was uncoupled from the back of the train and 'freewheled' into the station. Or not. If it had too little momentum Thomas or Percy went to fetch it
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Re: Rail Lines - Past and Present - Cornwall

Postby fossala » 23 Jul 2019, 6:50pm

Did you know St. Blazey has the last remaining semi circular roundhouse in the UK? Not a railway line but interesting nevertheless.

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Re: Rail Lines - Past and Present - Cornwall

Postby brynpoeth » 23 Jul 2019, 7:14pm

Are there not a lot of chapels in Kernow for you to visit?
What does Burscough Girl think of your exploits?
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Re: Rail Lines - Past and Present - Cornwall

Postby Mick F » 24 Jul 2019, 10:19am

Chapels?
Loads of them and too many to count I fear.
My wife is fully supportive of me. Married 46years this November. Wonderful lady and I love her to bits! :D

I was looking at a 1960 OS map west of Cornwall earlier. The line left Launceston (ancient capital of Cornwall) and went Egloskerry, Tresmeer and Otterham, before heading south to Camelford St Kew, Wadebridge and out to Newquay.
Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 10.17.30.png
I should be able to sketch out a ziggy zaggy route to Otterham from home and back crossing the old line and seeing the old station sites. I know the area and roads quite well, but having been there a few times, is not the same as doing it properly and taking notice of all I see of what remains.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Rail Lines - Past and Present - Cornwall

Postby Chat Noir » 24 Jul 2019, 6:56pm

Sounds fun.

I remember a school trip from Holsworthy to Padstow in the summer of 1966 on a specially arranged train. We went eastwards initially and down to Halwill Junction before being redirected down to Launceston where we entered Cornwall. The route went via Otterham and I have a vague memory of being told this was one of the highest railway stations in England, no idea if this was so. Very little to see now: camped near there the other year on an end to end ride and if it wasn't for the old maps you wouldn't know about the railway. Carried on down to Wadebridge and then along the estuary to Padstow. The last bit is now a delightful cycle trail but it was a lovely railway journey.
Holsworthy also carried on over to Bude and I think there was a time pre-war when large trains regularly travelled all the way there from London - maybe this was the Atlantic Coast Express. You once explained to me why the border leaves the Tamar near to Bridgerule, where this line enters Cornwall, but I can't now remember, but there should be good cycling to be had exploring these old routes.
Was it 1967 these all went? Someone who knew the cost of things but perhaps not their value.

Enjoy yourself.
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Mick F
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Re: Rail Lines - Past and Present - Cornwall

Postby Mick F » 24 Jul 2019, 7:43pm

Hi Chat! :D

The bit of Cornwall that is now England was a payment as a dowery for someone or other. My mate up the road from here is an expert on history and he's told me (endlessly) about stuff Viking/Saxon/Celtic/Norman/Plantagenet etc etc. To be honest, he goes on a bit, so sometimes I glaze over and forget.

Halwill Junction was a major junction on the railway system and was extended ready for the Normandy Landings. It must have been a busy place right into the 1950s too.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halwill_J ... ay_station

Some of the Beeching Cuts - viz Tavistock North - were still running until 1967. This is the line that is still on the cards for being reopened Okehampton/Plymouth as the railbed is still intact, and as the Exeter/Okehampton leg is still in use, it's a relatively simple? thing to do so they can bypass the problematical Dawlish sea wall railway.

They will be reopening Tavistock to Plymouth in the next year or two, so it's only? a matter of connecting Okehampton to Tavistock. Main issue is Meldon Viaduct as it needs rebuilding.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meldon_Viaduct
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Re: Rail Lines - Past and Present - Cornwall

Postby Mick F » 24 Jul 2019, 7:49pm

PS:
I don't doubt that Otterham Station is one of the highest in UK, though Princetown must have been the highest at 1,500ft.
Just south along the A39 from Otterham, RAF Davidstow Moor was the highest airfield in UK circa 1,000ft.
It's sill in use for light aircraft even now.

Princetown railway was closed in 1956 - well before the Beeching Cuts.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princetown_Railway
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Rail Lines - Past and Present - Cornwall

Postby ChrisF » 24 Jul 2019, 11:03pm

Mick F wrote:They will be reopening Tavistock to Plymouth in the next year or two,

Really? What will happen to NCN route 27?
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Re: Rail Lines - Past and Present - Cornwall

Postby Mick F » 25 Jul 2019, 11:22am

Tavistock to Plymouth will be via Bere Alston.
The line used to leave Plymouth via BA through Tavistock North, and then to Okehampton/Exeter/London.
The line to Gunnislake is via BA too.

Bere Alston has three platforms. No1 and No2 were the up and down lines Plymouth/London.
No3 was the Callington branch, since curtailed by Beeching so it only reaches Gunnislake nowadays.
No1 and No2 are still there and intact, so when they reinstate the old London line to Tavistock, they'll need more platform space.

The Tavistock South line went to Plymouth That was originally the Broad Gauge Brunell route now part of Route27. If you do that route, you can see the old alignments and part-demolished piers from his viaducts. They build new viaducts when the line was converted to Standard Gauge though the tunnels are still original Brunell. That line will never be reopened as a rail link, so R27 is safe. :wink:
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Re: Rail Lines - Past and Present - Cornwall

Postby Mick F » 25 Jul 2019, 11:42am

Here's an old map showing Tavistock and the two lines. Route27 is down the east side to Plymouth.
The connection down the west side is the line they are reinstating.

https://maps.nls.uk/view/74466986
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Re: Rail Lines - Past and Present - Cornwall

Postby Jon Lucas » 25 Jul 2019, 11:49am

Chat Noir wrote:
Holsworthy also carried on over to Bude and I think there was a time pre-war when large trains regularly travelled all the way there from London - maybe this was the Atlantic Coast Express.

Enjoy yourself.


When I stayed in Bude some time ago I read a book about this line, which had a wonderful picture in it of an elephant being transported by train to the circus in Bude.

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Re: Rail Lines - Past and Present - Cornwall

Postby RickH » 31 Jul 2019, 8:39pm

This webpage - Rail Map Online lets you see the historic routes overlayed on a modern map (with all sorts of options to turn vvarious things on and off. It may be of some use to you.

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Re: Rail Lines - Past and Present - Cornwall

Postby rjb » 31 Jul 2019, 9:42pm

Jon Lucas wrote:
Chat Noir wrote:
Holsworthy also carried on over to Bude and I think there was a time pre-war when large trains regularly travelled all the way there from London - maybe this was the Atlantic Coast Express.

Enjoy yourself.


When I stayed in Bude some time ago I read a book about this line, which had a wonderful picture in it of an elephant being transported by train to the circus in Bude.


They should have used the A39 after all that was the "trunk road" up to 2002 when it was "detrunked" :lol:
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Re: Rail Lines - Past and Present - Cornwall

Postby brynpoeth » 1 Aug 2019, 5:50am

One could ride all the train lines in Cornwall that are still open, could one complete that in 24 hours?
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