The Portreath to Poldice tramway had opened in 1809. It carried minerals from the Gwenapp mines to Portreath.
Later the Hayle to Portreath Railway opened in 1837, and was just over 17 miles long and had 4 inclines. It started to carry passerngers in 1843, but the inclines proved dangerous and slow. The inclines were by passed in 1852 and passengers travelled on this new route.
The Hayle Railway ran east to Redruth, and from Redruth Junction north to Portreath and south to Tresavean and the Lanner mines. Steam locomotion was used from the start, giving the route an early advantage over the Redruth and Chacewater line. It used the 'standard' gauge width.
There were steep inclines at Angarrack and Portreath, where wagons were hauled by ropes. The Portreath Incline was built with a stationary steam winder at its summit using double drums to raise and lower the wagons.
The two other inclines at Penponds and Tresavean worked on a counterbalancing principle.
The railway ran between the engineering works and copper quays at Hayle with the copper mines of Redruth and Camborne carrying ore to the port and coal to the mines.
In 1852 the Hayle Railway Company was acquired by the West Cornwall Railway, which in turn was purchased by the Great Western Railway in 1866. The Portreath branch continued as a freight line until its closure in the 1930s.