The Redruth & Chasewater Railway was conceived in 1818 when the mining entrepreneur John Taylor negotiated a lease for the Great Consolidated Mines' set to the east of Carharrack. By 1823 the railway was under construction and completed in 1825 with a horse drawing each wagon.
The railway ran from his mines near St. Day to the new harbour at Devoran on the Fal Estuary. Although called the Redruth and Chasewater Railway, it never actually got to Chasewater, but was extended to Wheal Buller and Redruth via Carharrack and Lanner. This railway terminated at extensive wharves at Devoran.
Redruth and Chasewater Railway This was opened on 30 January 1826, and carried 50,000 tons of ore in its first year. It would transport ore to the ports and to return laden with coal or other goods for the mines. Initially horse drawn trams were replaced in the mid 19th century by steam locos and the tramway renamed the 'Redruth and Chasewater Railway'. In good years the railway carried over 100,000 tons of freight but as mineral production declined towards the turn of the century the ore carried on the railway fell.
It was locomotive worked from 1 December 1864. It was closed on 27 September 1915.
"5 George IV. Cap. 121, Royal Assent 17th June, 1824.
THE act for executing this work was obtained in 1824, under title of 'An Act for making and maintaining a Railway or Tramroad from the town of Redruth, in the county of Cornwall, to Point Quay, in the parish of Feock, in the same county, with several Branches therefrom; and also for restoring, improving and maintaining the Navigation of Restrongett Creek, in the same county,' whereby certain persons, incorporated as" The Redruth and Chasewater Railway Company," have powers to complete the same, for which purpose they may raise £22,500, in shares of £100 each; and should such sum prove insufficient, they may obtain, in addition to the above, £10,000, either by the creation of new shares, or by subscription amongst themselves. For paying the interest of monies advanced and other contingent expenses, they are authorized to collect the following
The estimate for this work was, as before stated, £22,500, of which £19,500 were subscribed before the passing of the act. The usual powers are granted for that part of the work, which relates to the navigation of Restrongett Creek, and regulations for the mooring of vessels therein, which it is not necessary to enumerate in these pages.
The main line of this railway commences at the extensive tin works on the east side of the town of Redruth, whence it takes a south-easterly course round the mountain of Cam Marth; thence north-easterly by Carrarath to Twelve Heads, whence it takes a south-eastward course by Nangiles and Carnon Gate to Point Quay, situate on an estuary branching out of Carreg Road. Its length is nine miles, two furlongs and four chains; in the first mile and seven chains of which, to Wheel Beauchamp, there is a rise of 103 feet; from thence to its termination it is one gradual inclination with a fall of 555 feet to high-water-mark. From Carnon Gate there is a branch to Narrabo of one mile one furlong; another branch from Nangiles to Wheel Fortune of three furlongs and five chains; another from Twelve Heads to Wheel Bissey, two miles, two furlongs and five chains in length; and another from Wheel Beauchamp to Wheel Buller, of two furlongs four chains in length. The total length of main line and branches is thirteen miles, three furlongs and eight chains, and the estimate, which was made by Mr. Richard Thomas, amounted to £21,900.
The object of this railway is to facilitate the conveyance of the produce of the rich mineral district round Redruth for shipment. "
Today the Redruth and Chacewater Railway Trail connects with the existing
Coast to Coast Trail at Twelveheads, and follows a route through Wheal Maid,
to the south of Carharrack, to the north of Lanner and on to connect with the
Great Flat Lode Trail and the centre of Redruth. It is an 11 mile/17.5 km trail
for walkers, cyclists and equestrians linking the historic mining harbours of
Portreath on the north coast and Devoran on the south coast following the line
of two early horse-drawn tramroads, the Portreath Tramroad and the Redruth &
Chasewater Railway. A more strenuous 2 mile/3 km link to Wheal Busy and Hawke's
Engine House is steeper and rougher than the rest of the trail.
Read about it in The Redruth and Chasewater Railway, 1824-1915: A history of the Cornish mineral railway and port which served the great Gwennap copper mines Denys Bradford Barton
Mineral Tramways in Cornwall