John Speller's Web Pages Cornwall Minerals Railway
John Speller's Web Pages - GWR Narrow Gauge
Cornwall Minerals Railway
The Cornwall Minerals Railway was established by an Act of 21 July 1873, consolidating a number of previous railways and tramways going back to the 1840s. The 4 ft. 8 in. gauge line opened on 1 June 1874. Passenger service from Newquay to Fowey (CMR) was instituted on 20 July 1876. The Great Western Railway began working the line on 1 October 1877 and a link to the GWR station in Par was added on 1 January 1879, at which time the CMR Par station was renamed St Blazey to avoid confusion with the GWR station. The section from Burngullow to Drinnick Mill was originally broad gauge and was built by the Newquay and Cornwall Junction Railway in 1869. This was leased to the Cornwall Minerals Railway in 1872, and so came under Great Western control with that company in 1877. The Newquay & Cornwall Junction Railway was converted to narrow gauge on the weekend of May 21, 1892, following which it also became possible to run through trains from Paddington to Newquay, which had a good deal to do with Newquay's expansion as a tourist resort in the twentieth century. The Cornwall Minerals Railway was absorbed by the GWR on 1 July 1896. The line from Par to Newquay now forms Network Rail's Newquay branch, and all the stations except St Blazey remain open. Passenger service between St Blazey and Fowey was withdrawn on 21 September 1925, since the GWR had a duplicate originally broad gauge line from Lostwithiel to Fowey which had the advantage of much gentler gradients. However, workmen's trains continued until 24 December 1934. This section includes the 1173 yard Pinnock tunnel the longest in Devon or Cornwall. With effect from 1 July 1968 the St Blazey to Fowey line was sold to English China Clays and converted for use as a private road for hauling china clay. Thus, although the rails are long gone, the grading remains largely intact.
Map of the Cornwall Minerals Railway excerpted from the Great Western Railway system map
Mineral train on the Goonbarrow branch in around 1905
Cornwall Minerals Railway 0-6-0ST No. 5, running as GWR No. 1396 and pictured at St. Blazey. This design featured the Allan valve gear and was perpetuated by Churchward, who built another five examples as the "1361" Class, and Collett, who built a further five examples, modified with pannier tanks, as the "1366" Class. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
An immaculately kept and very busy Fowey station in a postcard view of around 1905. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
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