Lappa Valley Steam Railway
Lappa Valley Steam Railway – Track & Stations
Our steam railway is built to 15 inch gauge (350mm gauge) which is approximately one-quarter of the size of standard gauge railways. This gauge was selected in 1973 by the founder of the railway, Eric Booth, as being the most efficient gauge for a line of our length.
The track runs on a section of the trackbed originally built in 1849 for a minerals railway to serve the mine at East Wheal Rose.
We have one mile of track running through the Lappa Valley between our stations at Benny Halt and East Wheal Rose. Car parking and our ticket office can be found at Benny Halt while the rest of our activities are located at East Wheal Rose at the end of your journey by steam train. We run regular scheduled services in season and some special events. Click here for our timetable.
Lappa Valley Steam Railway – Rolling Stock
We have ten 15 inch gauge carriages which were built for us in ‘toast-rack’ style by Jays Gates of St Newlyn East (now Mid-Cornwall Metal Fabrications of Newquay). Over the years we have made alterations to the carriages to suit different weather conditions – some are more open than others for sunny days and one, the ‘First Class’ coach, has been panelled in wood with upholstered seats – if available, you may travel in it at no extra cost!
Lappa Valley Steam Railway – Locomotives
0-6-4 Pannier tank locomotive, coal fired. Designed by David Curwen, built 1974 by Severn Lamb of Stratford-upon-Avon.
0-6-0 Tender locomotive, coal fired. Designed by David Curwen, built 1967 by Berwyn Engineering of Chippenham.
0-6-0 diesel hydraulic Perkins 22 bhp. Designed and built by Alan Keef Ltd of Ross-on-Wye.
4w + 4w, petrol, single cylinder 8 hp. Built by Mardyke Miniature Railways of Rainham.
Minerals Railway – Lappa Valley
The Lappa Valley Railway runs on one of the oldest railway track beds in Cornwall. In 1843 J. T. Treffry, a pioneer of Cornish railways, suggested building a tramway between Par and the growing port of Newquay, with a branch to East Wheal Rose mine which was then entering its most prosperous period.
It took Treffry six years to overcome local opposition to his scheme and modifications to the route were needed. The tramway was eventually built from Newquay to St. Dennis, with a branch to East Wheal Rose. The first cargo of ore from East Wheal Rose, weighing thirty tons, was carried in horse-drawn tubs to Newquay harbour on 26th February 1849.
In 1874, following an Act of Parliament, Treffry’s network of tramways, including the East Wheal Rose branch, was taken over by the Cornwall Minerals Railway and horses were replaced by steam locomotives.