Launceston Steam Railway
|Launceston Steam Railway|
|Locale||Launceston, Cornwall, UK|
|Name||North Cornwall Railway|
|Original gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Owned by||The Spice Settlement Trust Co. Ltd|
|Operated by||The Spice Settlement Trust Co. Ltd|
|Preserved gauge||1 ft 11 1⁄2 in (597 mm)|
|Opened||21 July 1892|
|Closed||30 January 1967|
|1965||Steam locomotive Lilian rescued|
|1983||Launceston Steam Railway opened|
|1995||Extension to Newmills opened|
The Launceston Steam Railway is narrow gauge railway operating from the town of Launceston in Cornwall. The railway is built on the trackbed of the North Cornwall Railway to the gauge of 1 ft 11 1⁄2 in (597 mm) and runs for 2½ miles to Newmills, where there is a farm park.
Standard gauge railway
The first railway to reach Launceston was the Launceston and South Devon Railway, opened in 1865 from Launceston to Plymouth, and later absorbed into the Great Western Railway. In 1886 the London and South Western Railway opened its railway from Halwill Junction, extended to Padstow in stages in the 1890s, and later part of the Southern Railway. The two Launceston stations were side by side: the Great Western closed in 1962 and the Southern in 1966.
Narrow gauge revival
In 1965, trainee teacher Nigel Bowman rescued the steam locomotive "Lilian" from the Penrhyn Slate Quarry in North Wales, and restored her to working order at his home in Surrey. He then set about looking for a site to build a railway for Lilian to run on, and settled on Launceston in 1971, after considering a stretch of trackbed from Guildford to Horsham and the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway. Purchase of the trackbed took several years, and the first ½ mile of track opened on Boxing Day 1983. The railway was extended progressively, the latest opening to Newmills in 1995 bringing the line to its current 2½ mile length.
|Launceston Steam Railway|
The LSR starts at a new station just west of the original LSWR station, which is now an industrial estate. Launceston station is the main station on the railway, and the sheds and engineering facilities are located here. The line runs from the station through a cutting, passing under a road bridge and aqueduct carrying a mill leat, before crossing the River Kensey on a two-arch viaduct. The line is now on an embankment and crosses a bridge over a farm track before arriving at Hunt's Crossing, where it is planned to lay a passing loop. After Hunt's Crossing the line crosses two farm crossings and then reaches Canna Park which was the temporary terminus before the extension to Newmills. From Canna Park there is a fairly short run to Newmills, the terminus. Adjacent to the Newmills station is the Newmills Farm Park.
All public train services are operated by the steam locomotives, whilst the internal combustion locomotives are used for maintenance work.
|Lilian||Hunslet||0-4-0 ST||317||1883||Penrhyn Quarry||New boiler fitted in 1993 and tender added in 2008|
|Covertcoat||Hunslet||0-4-0 ST||679||1898||Dinorwic Quarry||Cab and tender added at Launceston|
|Velinheli||Hunslet||0-4-0 ST||409||1886||Dinorwic Quarry||Privately owned by James Evans, ex. Inny Valley Railway.|
|Dorothea||Hunslet||0-4-0 ST||763||1901||Dorothea slate quarry||Restored over 22 years by Kay Bowman, first steamed in November 2011 and entered passenger service in 2012.|
|Sybil||W.G. Bagnall||0-4-0 ST||1760||1906||Dinorwic Quarry||Privately owned by James Evans, was stored at Launceston for several years but now dismantled at a private site|
|89||Perseverance||C. Parmenter||4wVBT||2004||Constructed on a Hudson chassis|
Internal Combustion and Battery Electric
|38||English Electric||2w-2-2-2wRE||761||1930||Post Office Railway||On display in the museum|
|42||English Electric||2w-2-2-2wRE||1930||Post Office Railway||To be rebuilt as railcar power bogie|
|Motor Rail||4wDM||5646||1933||Grove Heath, Ripley, Surrey|
|N. Bowman||4wBER||1986||Inspection trolley|
|Launceston SR||4wDER||2004||Inspection trolley|
|Pearl 2||A. Civil||2001||Golden Valley Light Railway|
|Dame Ann||Exmoor Steam Railway||2004||Wales West, Alabama|
|19||Sharp Stewart||2009||Beeches Light Railway|
|Gertrude||Andrew Barclay||2009||Exmoor Transport|
|Lyd||Boston Lodge||2010||Ffestiniog Railway|
|Roanoke Engineering||2010 & 2011||Private||Vertical boilered tram locomotive|
The railway has four passenger carriages, all built on site and based on those built for the Manx Electric Railway, Torrington and Marland Railway and the Plynlimon and Hafan Tramway. There are also several ex. RNAD box vans, slate wagons and tipping wagons.
It is a long term plan to extend the railway a further two miles to the village of Egloskerry, incorporating a new cycle trail, and it is also planned to construct a replica of the Gyro monorail developed by Louis Brennan.
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