John Speller's Web Pages North Cornwall Railway

John Speller's Web Pages - L&SWR
North Cornwall Railway (L&SWR)
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The North Cornwall Railway, from Halwill Junction to Padstow, a distance of 49 miles and 67 chains, was the last section of the London & South Western Railways West of England main line, which came to be known as the Southern Railway's "Withered Arm," to be completed. In building it they finally linked up with the Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway, which they had purchased illegally in 1846. The North Cornwall Railway's Act was passed on 18 August 1882, but owing to shortage of funds it was not until 21 July 1886 that the first 14 miles 57 chains from Halwill Junction to Launceston was opened. The final section to Padstow was not opened until 27 March 1899. Apart from Launceston, Wadebridge and Bodmin, the land that the railway ran through was sparsely populated and could never have expected an extensive traffic. This was particularly true of the section between Halwill Junction and Launceston. Proposals to extend the line from Padstow to Newquay and Truro foundered through a combination of lack of funds and opposition from the Great Western Railway. In Southern Railway days the line was chiefly memorable as the route of the Atlantic Coast Express, which just before the Second World War was running the 260 miles between Waterloo and Padstow in 4 hours 24 minutes, or an average speed of 48.1 mph. The last Atlantic Coast Express left Padstow on 5 September 1964. The line from Halwill Junction to Wadebridge closed under the Beeching Axe on 3 October 1966, leaving the Wadebridge to Padstow section served from Bodmin for the last three months until the Wadebridge to Padstow section in turn closed on 30 January 1967.
Map of the North Cornwall Railway. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
A Southern Railway poster showing Pentire Point, a beauty spot on the coast near Wadebridge
Padstow station on opening day, 27 March 1899
The steel truss bridge over the Little Petherick Creek was the major engineering work on the North Cornwall line between Wadebridge and Padstow. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
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