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The West Cornwall Railway was a former railway company in Cornwallmarker, United Kingdom. The company was formed in 1844 to operate the existing Hayle Railway between the towns of Haylemarker and Redruthmarker and extend the railway to Penzancemarker and Truromarker.

The West Cornwall Railway was leased to the Great Western Railway, Bristol and Exeter Railway and South Devon Railway in 1866 which resulted in direct services to Londonmarker from Penzance for the first time after the broad gauge had been added to the existing standard gauge tracks, making them mixed gauge.

Following the amalgamation of 1876 the Great Western Railway was the sole lessee until the nationalisation of British Railways on 1 January 1948. The broad gauge was disused after 20 May 1892.

Chronology

  • 1837 Hayle Railway opened to Pool for goods traffic, also branches to Portreathmarker, Roskear, and North Crofty
  • 1838 Main line competed to Redruth, also branch to Tresavean
  • 1843 Passenger services introduced on main line
  • 1846 West Cornwall Railway replaced Hayle Railway
  • 1852 West Cornwall Railway opened from Truro Road to Penzance, also Hayle Wharves branch
  • 1855 Line extended to Truro Newham
  • 1859 Cornwall Railway opened to new joint station at Truro
  • 1865 Railway leased jointly to the Great Western Railway, Bristol and Exeter Railway, and South Devon Railway
  • 1866 Broad gauge laid along the main line
  • 1877 St Ives branch opened, the last new broad gauge passenger line
  • 1887 Helston Railway opened from Gwinear Road
  • 1892 Broad gauge abandoned, St Ives line converted to standard gauge
  • 1936 Portreath and Tresavean branches closed
  • 1947 West Cornwall Railway Company nationalised into British Railways
  • 1948 North Crofty branch closed
  • 1962 Helston branch closed
  • 1963 Roskear branch closed
  • 1972 Newham branch closed
  • 1983 Hayle Wharves branch closed


Stations



Bridges and viaducts

Hayle viaduct




Locomotives

Standard gauge

The Hayle Railway contracted with J. Chanter to provide its locomotives. This contract was bought out by the West Cornwall Railway, the stock consisting of the Carn Brea, Chanter, Cornubria, Coryndon, and Pendarves.

These locomotives were replaced from 1851 by an expanded fleet comprising:
  • Apollo (1866 – 1881), an ex-London and North Western Railway 0-6-0 (Great Western Railway (GWR) no. 1388)
  • Cambornemarker (1852 – 1865), a Stothert and Slaughter 0-4-2T
  • Carn Breamarker (1853 – 1866), a Stothert and Slaughter 0-4-2
  • Ceres (1875 – 1881), an ex-London and North Western Railway 0-6-0 (GWR no. 1390)
  • Cyclops (1874 – 1881), an ex-London and North Western Railway 0-6-0 (GWR no. 1389)
  • Falmouthmarker (1855 – 1881) a Robert Stephenson and Company 2-4-0 (GWR no. 1384)
  • Fox (1872 – 1912), an Avonside Engine Company 0-4-0T (GWR no. 1391)
  • Haylemarker (1853 – 1866), a Stothert and Slaughter 0-4-2T
  • Helstonmarker (1860 – 1868), a Robert Stephenson 2-4-0 (GWR no. 917)
  • Ironsides (1852 – ?)
  • Mars (1866 – 1881), a Vulcan Foundrymarker 0-6-0T (GWR no. 1386)
  • Mounts Baymarker (1853 – 1868), a Robert Stephenson and Company 2-4-0 (GWR no. 915)
  • Nestor (1865 – 1881), an ex-London and North Western Railway 0-6-0 (GWR no. 1387)
  • Penwithmarker (1853 – 1872), a Sothert and Slaughter 2-4-0
  • Penzancemarker (1851 – ?), a Stothert and Slaughter 0-4-2T
  • Penzance (1860 – 1868), a Robert Stephenson 2-4-0 (GWR no. 916)
  • Redruthmarker (1852 – ?), a Robert Stephenson 2-4-0
  • Redruth (1865 – 1871), a Slaughter and Grunning 0-6-0
  • St Justmarker (1865 – 1881), a Robert Stephenson and Company 0-6-0 (GWR no. 1385)
  • St Ivesmarker (1855 – 1868), a Robert Stephenson and Company 2-4-0 (GWR no 918)
  • Truromarker (1852 – 1873), a Robert Stephenson and Company 2-4-0


Broad gauge

Broad gauge locomotives were pooled with the Cornwall Railway and South Devon Railway locomotives, those bought on behalf of the West Cornwall Railway being:

In addition, two West Cornwall Railway locomotives were rebuilt to run on the broad gauge.
  • Penwith (1872 – 1888) 2-4-0T GWR no. 2136
  • Redruth (1871 – 1887) 0-6-0ST GWR no. 2156


Further reading

  • Brunel's Cornish Viaducts, John Binding, Historical Model Railway Society [316024] 1993, ISBN 0-906899-56-7
  • The Great Western Railway in Mid Cornwall, Alan Bennett,Kingfisher Railway Productions 1988, ISBN 0-946184-53-4
  • The Great Western Railway in West Cornwall, Alan Bennett, Runpast Publications 1988, ISBN 1-870754-12-3
  • The West Cornwall Railway (OL122), S C Jenkins & R C Langley, Oakwood Press 2002, ISBN 0-85361-589-6
  • The Hayle, West Cornwall & Helston Railways (OL21), George Henry Anthony, Oakwood Press 1968, ISBN 0-85361-000-2
  • Railway company records can be consulted at the National Archives


References




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