Lostwithiel and Fowey Railway
|Lostwithiel and Fowey Railway|
|Dates of operation||1869–1880|
|Successor||Cornwall Minerals Railway|
|Track gauge||7 ft 1⁄4 in (2,140 mm)|
|Length||4.75 miles (7.64 km)|
The Lostwithiel and Fowey Railway opened in 1869 as a 7 ft 1⁄4 in (2,140 mm) broad gauge railway and links the port of Fowey in Cornwall with the Cornish Main Line at Lostwithiel. Its main traffic has always been china clay.
- 1862 Lostwithiel and Fowey Railway Act
- 1869 Line opened
- 1874 Cornwall Minerals Railway opens from Par to Fowey
- 1880 Service suspended
- 1892 Lostwithiel and Fowey Railway Company dissolved
- 1895 Reopened by Cornwall Minerals Railway
- 1968 Par to Fowey line closed
An independent company began negotiations with the Cornwall Railway in 1861 with an aim to build a branch line from that railway at Lostwithiel to deep water at Fowey. The route would run alongside the River Fowey and so would have gentle gradients and few engineering problems apart from some bridges across small tributary rivers, and new quays at Carne Point, just outside Fowey.
An Act of Parliament was obtained on 30 June 1862 and the line was opened on 1 June 1869. There were close links with the Newquay and Cornwall Junction Railway; some directors and officers served both companies, and offices were in a shared building at Par.
The opening of a rival route from Par by the Cornwall Minerals Railway on 1 June 1874 led to a price war. The Lostwithiel and Fowey Railway suspended traffic from 1 January 1880. The line was leased to the Cornwall Railway for use as storage sidings but traffic never resumed, despite several attempts to attract new business.
By way of an Act of Parliament on 27 June 1892 the company was dissolved and the line transferred to the Cornwall Minerals Railway. The line was reconstructed using the 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge, the jetties at Carne Point rebuilt, and a short connection made to link the two railways, finally bringing the line from Lostwithiel to a station at Fowey. The line reopened on 16 September 1895. It now carried both goods and passenger traffic, and a small halt was opened at Golant.
The passenger service from Lostwithiel to Fowey was withdrawn on 4 January 1965, and the line now carries only goods traffic to Carne Point. The line from Par to Fowey closed on 1 July 1968, and the Lostwithiel and Fowey route now carries the only rail traffic to Fowey.
An agreement was signed with the Cornwall Railway for that company to work the line once it was complete. As the line when opened in 1869 only went as far as Carne Point, and that only for goods traffic, the Cornwall Railway would not fulfil the agreement and so hired a locomotive to the railway instead. The Lostwithiel and Fowey considered this arrangement as too expensive.
In February 1870 the directors reported that "the temporary arrangement made with the Cornwall for carrying on the traffic did not leave the company sufficient profit to pay the cost of maintaining the permanent way. The directors had hired an engine - the only one they could obtain at so short a notice - it is not, however, of sufficient power, and it has become necessary to obtain a more efficient one. With this view, the directors were negotiating for the purchase or hire of an engine of greater power."
- Bennett, Alan (1988). The Great Western Railway in Mid Cornwall. Southampton: Kingfisher Railway Publications. ISBN 0-946184-53-4.
- Bradshaw's Railway Manual, Shareholders' Guide and Directory. (1871).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Railways in Fowey.|
Papers relating to the Lostwithiel and Fowey Railway can be consulted at The National Archives at Kew. The minute books are believed to have been destroyed.