Some Early Lines
Bodmin & Wenford Railway
Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway
History of the Line
The broad gauge (7ft 0¼ins) Cornwall Railway was opened between Plymouth and Truro in 1859. It had a station at Bodmin Road and became part of the Great Western Railway in 1876.
The Bodmin branch line was authorized by Act of Parliament on 10 August 1882. The first sod was cut in March 1884 and the line opened from Bodmin Road (now Bodmin Parkway) to Bodmin, a distance of 3½ miles, on 27 May 1887, built to standard gauge (4ft 8½ins).
A further line, from Bodmin to Boscarne Junction, a distance of 3 miles, was opened in September 1888 to connect with the existing Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway, which had opened back in 1834 (running from Wadebridge to Wenfordbridge, with a branch to Bodmin). The Bodmin & Wadebridge line was one of the first railways in the world to use steam locomotives and certainly the first in Cornwall, and was taken over by the London & South Western Railway in 1847.
The old railway line at Hellandbridge
The Wenford bridge branch of the Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway ran between these two buildings, and it was a tight squeeze. This is now part of the Camel Trail cycle path. © Copyright Ron Strutt and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Hellandbridge – with and without a train!
The LSWR became part of the Southern Railway in 1923, and this formed the Southern Region of British Railways upon nationalization in 1948. BR Western Region, as successor to the GWR, took control of the SR stations in the area for commercial purposes from 1950-58, and gained complete control in January 1963.
Steam hauled passenger services ended on the line in 1963. Rationalisation started in June 1964 when a shuttle service was introduced between Bodmin North and Boscarne Junction, where new exchange facilities were established. Withdrawal of all passenger services between Padstow and Bodmin Road took place on 30 January 1967.
Freight trains continued to run between Bodmin Road and Wadebridge until September 1978. The line to Wenfordbridge remained open for china clay traffic until 03 October 1983, when complete closure of the route took place.
Efforts to preserve the branch line, with a view to reopening it as a heritage steam railway, began shortly after closure. The Bodmin Railway Preservation Society (BRPS) was thus formed in July 1984. In a bid to raise the £139,600 needed to purchase the line from Bodmin Parkway to Boscarne Junction, via Bodmin General, the Bodmin & Wenford Railway plc was formed by the Society. The Company successfully purchased the track, and North Cornwall District Council (now part of Cornwall Council) secured the land, from British Rail.
Bodmin (General) Station
View northward, to buffer-stops; ex-GWR terminus of branch from Bodmin Road (‘Bodmin Parkway’ since 4/11/84). The station and lines from Bodmin Road, also from Wadebridge were closed on 30/1/67, but on 31/3/86 the Heritage Bodmin & Wenford Railway began to operate trains again from Bodmin General. © Copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
The first Open Day was held on Sunday 1 June 1986, when a small steam locomotive – former Devonport Dockyard 0-4-0ST No 19 – performed shunting demonstrations at Bodmin General Station. These were the first authorised train movements in the preservation era, and thus the Bodmin & Wenford Railway is proud to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2011.
The necessary Light Railway Order was obtained on 31 August 1989. Regular services between Bodmin Parkway and Bodmin General were restored on 17 June 1990, and the line was extended back to Boscarne Junction six years later, on 15 August 1996.
Since then the Bodmin & Wenford Railway has operated trains – principally steam, but with some heritage diesel services – over the 6½ miles between Bodmin Parkway and Boscarne Junction via Bodmin General.
Bodmin Station and Signalbox
Bodmin General station is now the headquarters of the Bodmin & Wenford Railway. It currently operates trains between Bodmin Parkway, the junction with the main line, and Boscarne Junction, and has aims to extend along the closed line to Wadebridge. © Copyright Ron Strutt and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
The railway has now firmly established itself as one of the country’s finest steam railways, Cornwall’s only full size (standard gauge) railway still regularly operated by steam locomotives………and a great family attracktion!
Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway
The Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway was a railway line opened in 1834 in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It linked the town of Bodmin with the harbour at Wadebridge and also quarries at Wenfordbridge. Its intended traffic was minerals to the port at Wadebridge and sea sand, used to improve agricultural land, inwards. Passengers were also carried on part of the line.
It was the first steam-powered railway line in the county and predated the main line to London by 25 years.
It was always desperately short of money, both for initial construction and for actual operation. In 1846 it was purchased by the London and South Western Railway, when that company hoped to gain early access to Cornwall for its network, but in fact those intentions were much delayed, and the little line was long isolated.
China clay extraction was developed at Wenfordbridge and sustained mineral traffic on the line for many years, but passenger use declined and the line closed to passengers in 1967, the china clay traffic continuing until 1978.
Much of the route now forms part of the Camel Trail, a cycle and footpath from Wenfordbridge to Padstow
The present Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway Company Ltd is connected with the Bodmin & Wenford Railway organisation and is working towards the reinstatement of the railway line from Boscarne Junction to Wadebridge (Guineport) on behalf of the Bodmin & Wenford Railway.
The Bodmin & Wenford Railway is a heritage railway running mainly steam trains from Bodmin Parkway to Boscarne Junction via Bodmin General.
The Bodmin & Wenford Railway is run mainly by volunteers who are members of the Bodmin Railway Preservation Society and is supported by the Bodmin & Wenford Railway Trust