The axing of the railway branch line to Helston in the 60s is not something I am old enough to remember first hand but I am aware of it via family and friends, and general local lore. Which, considering it happened almost 50 years ago, goes to show how strongly the reverberations were felt.
I have a very soft spot for Helston. It’s partly because I went to primary school there but it’s not just that – it is one of Cornwall’s most attractive country towns. But it is out on a limb (the limb being the Lizard) and is clearly struggling – and you can’t help wondering what it might have been like if its transport link had not been cut. And you also can’t help wondering now what on earth they were thinking but that’s another story…
This story is a little more cheery. The Helston Railway Preservation Company succeeded in reopening a half-mile section of track from a platform at the beautiful Trevarno estate to run a very sweet heritage steam train last week.
Stuart Walker, of the Helston Railway Preservation Company, said to the BBC: “We first started thinking about reopening part of the line in 2000. In those days, it was just a small group of us meeting in a pub. Now I have to pinch myself because we have a railway station.”
According to their website, “The objective of the company is to restore to running order, and re-open as a heritage railway, as much of the old Helston Branch Line as possible. The long-term aim is to re-open a three mile section of the branch line between Nancegollan and Helston Water-ma-Trout.”
Now, you’ve got to love a station called Water-ma-Trout…
PS Yes, I realise that what with this and my post about the sleeper the other day, I am showing demonstrable symptoms of trainspottery – honestly, it’s under control.