John Speller's Web Pages Cornwall & West Cornwall Railways

John Speller's Web Pages GWR Broad Gauge

Cornwall & West Cornwall Railways
The Cornwall Railway, a broad gauge line running from Plymouth to Truro and Falmouth, was opened with the completion of the Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash in 1859. With a works at Lostwithiel, the line maintained its own coaching stock, but the locomotive working was subcontracted to the South Devon Railway.

The West Cornwall Railway completed the GWR main line west to Penzance and was originally a narrow gauge line. It opened to Penzance on 11 March 1852. After being absorbed by the Associated Companies it came into the GWR sphere of influence (1 July 1865), and the line was converted to mixed gauge (1 March 1867), so that from then on expresses like the "Flying Dutchman" and "Cornishman" ran right through on the broad gauge from Paddington to Penzance.

Some lines such as the Liskeard and Looe, and the Helston branch were always narrow gauge. The St. Ives branch, however, was built as late as 1874 as a broad gauge line, making it the last broad gauge line ever built.
The Cornwall and West Cornwall Railways from the GWR System Map. To enlarge right click and select "view image"
Caricature of the Cornwall Railway, c. 1860. The train on the timber trestle is being pulled by a slow tugboat, while a mule and cart underneath the trestle overtake it. Even at its zenith in the 1930s the "Cornish Riviera Limited" was booked to cover the distance from Plymouth to Penzance at an average speed of only 36.3 mph!
Cornwall Railway corporate seal (Arf! Arf!), showing the Cornish shield and motto ("One and All"), with the Prince of Wales' feathers and various digging implements. The negative has been reversed
Opening day of the Cornwall Railway at Falmouth, 24 August 1863
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