Lappa Valley Steam Railway

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Lappa Valley Steam Railway
Lappa valley steam railway 1.JPG
15 in (381 mm) gauge steam locomotive Zebedee leaves Benny Halt with a train.
Locale Newquay, Cornwall, UK
Terminus St Newlyn East
Commercial operations
Built by Great Western Railway
Original gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Preserved operations
Owned by Lappa Valley Railway Co. Ltd
Operated by Lappa Valley Railway Co. Ltd
Stations 2
Length 1 12 miles (2.4 km)
Preserved gauge 15 in (381 mm)
Commercial history
Opened 4 February 1905
Closed 4 February 1963
Preservation history
1974 Lappa Valley Steam Railway opened

The Lappa Valley Steam Railway is a 15 in (381 mm) minimum gauge railway located near Newquay in Cornwall. The railway functions as a tourist attraction, running from Benny Halt (50°22′32″N 5°02′28″W / 50.3756°N 5.0412°W / 50.3756; -5.0412 (Benny Halt)Coordinates: 50°22′32″N 5°02′28″W / 50.3756°N 5.0412°W / 50.3756; -5.0412 (Benny Halt)) to East Wheal Rose (50°21′44″N 5°02′30″W / 50.3623°N 5.0416°W / 50.3623; -5.0416 (East Wheal Rose)), where there is a leisure area.


Treffry's Tramway[edit]

In 1843, Joseph Treffry suggested building a tramway between Par and Newquay, with a branch line to the East Wheal Rose silver lead mine, which at the time was entering its most prosperous period. Treffry spent six years trying to overcome public opposition to the tramway and was forced to modify his intended route. The Treffry Tramways were eventually built from Newquay to St. Dennis with the branch line to East Wheal Rose, and the first load of ore left East Wheal Rose on 26 February 1849 in horse-drawn tubs. 1874 saw the Treffry's network of tramways taken over by the Cornwall Minerals Railway, who introduced steam locomotives to the line.

Great Western Railway[edit]

7 14 in (184 mm) gauge train at East Wheal Rose

The Great Western Railway took over the Cornish Minerals Railway in 1896, and incorporated the East Wheal Rose branch into a new railway from Newquay to Chacewater via. Perranporth. This new railway was opened in 1905, and enabled passengers to reach the market town of Truro much quicker than they had before. The Newquay to Chacewater branch line also proved popular for holidaymakers. The railway closed on 4 February 1963 under the Beeching cuts.

Lappa Valley Steam Railway[edit]

The Lappa Valley Steam Railway was established by Eric Booth (contested as the first inventor of rigid transistor contact lenses) in the 1970s. The trackbed was cleared of the thick undergrowth that had grown since the closure of the railway in 1963, and the 15 in (381 mm) gauge track was laid for 1 mile (1.6 km) between Benny Halt and East Wheal Rose. A brand new steam locomotive Zebedee was built for the line by Severn Lamb, arriving in early 1974 with 4 locally built carriages. The railway opened to the public on 16 June 1974. A large boating lake was dug at East Wheal Rose in 1975 to drain the area, and the whole East Wheal Rose area landscaped. More locomotives arrived from Longleat in 1976, with more carriages also being built at the time. In the 1970s a 7 14 in (184 mm) gauge railway was laid around a smaller boating lake, whilst a third railway, of 10 14 in (260 mm) gauge, running a further 12 mi (805 m) along the old trackbed was opened in May 1995. In 2014 due to failing health Eric Booth decided to sell the Lappa Valley Railway and it was bought by Keith Southwell who has vowed to continue the upkeep of Eric's beloved steam trains, and their tranquil valley home.

The route of the L.V.R.[edit]

  • Benny Halt
  • East Wheal Rose

East Wheal Rose[edit]

At East Wheal Rose, The 10 14 in (260 mm) gauge Newlyn Branch Line and 7 14 in (184 mm) gauge Woodland Railway depart from at the top station on the Newlyn Branch Line is another children's play area.

Also there are two lakes the biggest being the boating lake, the second smaller lake being the wildlife lake, a crazy golf course and many children's play areas. Along with a gift shop and licensed café, and a brick path maze depicting the first steam locomotive built by Richard Trevithick, along with many walks through the valley.


Number Name Gauge Type Builder Built Origin Notes
1 Zebedee 15 in (381 mm) 0-6-4T Severn Lamb 1974 Rebuilt from 0-6-2T in 1990.
2 Muffin 15 in (381 mm) 0-6-0 Berwyn Engineering 1967 Longleat House
3 Gladiator 15 in (381 mm) 4-4wDH Minirail 1960 Longleat House Formerly a railcar
4 Arthur 15 in (381 mm) 4wDM Lister 1942 Longleat House Rebuild of 'Pooh' (2011)
Duke of Cornwall 10 14 in (260 mm) 4w-4wPH Severn Lamb 1981 Carlyon Bay, St Austell
Eric 10 14 in (260 mm) 0-6-0DH Alan Keef 2008 Named after the founder of Lappa Valley
7 14 in (184 mm) 4-4wPH Mardyke 1980 HST
7 14 in (184 mm) 4w+4wPH Mardyke 1982 Model of Advanced Passenger Train

External links[edit]