Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway, Cornwall

Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway runs steam engines

The Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway was one of the first railways anywhere in the world.

The Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway was built following a study commissioned in 1831 by local landowner Sir William Molesworth of Pencarrow. It cost £35,000. The line ran from Wadebridge to Wenfordbridge, with a branch to Bodmin. It was designed to carry sand from the Camel estuary to inland farms for use as fertiliser on moorland soil..

In the 1840s, England's railway network expanded towards Bodmin. The London & South Western Railway purchased the Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway in 1846. Their intention was to connect it to the rest of the UK rail system by a new line through North Cornwall.

At the same time, the Cornwall Railway was constructing a line from Plymouth to Falmouth. The Cornwall Railway had the backing of the Great Western Railway, and their aim was to rival the L&SWR line from Cornwall to London. Both companies raced to provide Bodmin (then Cornwall's county town) with a direct railway connection to London.

The Cornwall Railway line appear to have been unable to afford to run their line into Bodmin and instead built a station at Glynn Bridge (now called Bodmin Parkway). While this station was being built, the public used a small halt at Respryn which later became a private station for Lanhydrock House.

To link to this new line (which was later acquired by the G.W.R.), the Great Western built a branch line to Bodmin, and today's steam services now run on this line.

The Bodmin branch line was authorised by Act of Parliament on August 10th, 1882. The first sod was cut in 1884 and the line opened from Bodmin Road (now Bodmin Parkway) to Bodmin on May 27th, 1887. A second line from Bodmin to Boscarne Junction was opened in September 1888 to connect with the Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway. The London & South Western Railway did not complete their link until June 1895.

Cornwall Railway main line was converted from Brunel's broad gauge to the narrower "standard gauge" in 1892, passengers and goods were transferred between trains at Bodmin Road. The difference in gauge prevented main line locomotives being used on the branch and the G.W.R, had a separate locomotive shed at Bodmin.

In 1923, the L&SWR lines became part of the Southern Railway and the rivalry between the two networks continued. The G.W.R. could run their trains over the Southern's tracks to Wadebridge but could not stop at the Southern's intermediate stops. Both companies had their own railway staff at Wadebridge.

Steam-hauled passenger services ended on the line in 1963, although Southern Railway "N" class locomotives worked clay trains over the line until 1964, en-route from Boscarne Junction to Fowey docks.

Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway

The Bodmin & Wenford Railway is a Standard Gauge Railway that operates mainly steam locomotives on a 13 mile round trip. The Railway is typical of a branch line in the 1950's. Great Western steam tank engines are the main locomotives but diesel traction is also used, particularly on Saturdays

There is a fairly complicated timetable, but steam trains seem to run most of the time except the first service of the day and all services on Saturday, when a diesel operates

The restored great Western Railway station in Bodmin General is the line's headquarters. On most days you can see locomotives being restored in the engine shed.

Boscarne Junction provides a link with the "Camel Trail", the cycle path from Bodmin to Padstow along the abandoned sections of the Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway. You can also walk 10 ins for a drink at the Borough Arms

Colesloggett Halt. You can get off the train and enjoy a walk or a picnic, waiting for the next train

Bodmin Parkway station - since 1887 this has been the junction with the main line. You can walk along the old carriage drive to the Lanhydrock House.

Steam trains operate from March to December - daily from 27th May to 1st October.

Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway

Bodmin & Wenford Railway

Cornwall Railways and Mineral Tramways