This year we began running trains again on the 15th May and since then have seen a steady growth in visitors keen to enjoy the experience that is Helston Railway. This year our steam locomotive is Peckett 2000 hauling a single carriage, although we intend to increase that to a second carriage later in the year. We also intend to run some diesel hauled trains during the year, when that decision is taken we will let you know. In the meantime we are running steam trains on two days a week as usual and this year that is on Thursdays and Sundays. One of our young volunteers, Mylo Haskayne captured the images on the first running day and some of them are shown here.
Needless to say the crew were all very happy to be back driving our visitors again.
The trains, this year, will be departing Prospidnick Halt at 10.30 am, 11.30 am, 1pm, 2 pm and 3pm. We don’t take bookings so you just turn up to catch your chosen train. Our morning trains are usually busier than the afternoon ones. Tickets must be purchased from the shop adjacent to the car park before walking the short distance to the platform. Our tickets are the old fashioned cardboard Edmonson tickets – so you can expect the Guard to punch a hole in it to say you have travelled! Leave at least 15 minutes to buy your ticket and walk to the train.
This year our locomotive will be propelling the train on its outward journey. As we don’t have the infrastructure available to turn the loco round at each end of the journey this means that it will be at the front of the train on the return trip.
Our line is just over a mile in length (at the moment – we have plans!) and it takes around 40 minutes, so it’t perfect for the small children as they don’t have time to get bored.
The little museum in the picture holds a representation of the articles found in a Stationmaster’s office and other Cornish railway artefacts which we have collected.
The Peckett 2000 is pictured here making an unscheduled stop at Trevarno station.
We don’t usually stop here, unless its to pick up volunteers who have been working in the engine shed or on the stock stabled there. Here the stop was for Mylo to take some pictures!
This was our first platform to be built when we first started operating and was accessed from Trevarno Estate which at the time was open to the public. Now it is used to maintain and store equipment, but it is likely to have a different future at some stage.
Arriving at Truthall Halt with the suburban carriage leading the train. This is currently the end of our line. It is manned by a Station Master who is here waiting to greet the train. This is the only station on our railway that was on the original line which was closed to the public in 1962. Truthall Halt has been rebuilt by us as a faithful replica of the original. The pagoda station shelter is an exact copy of the buildings that used to be very common on the Great Western Railway. We won two awards for this recreation.
At Truthall Halt all passengers are invited to disembark and stretch their legs. The train will wait here for around 20 minutes. Visitors can visit the museum in the Pagoda shelter and learn the history of the railway and our work to restore it. The train crew are also available to chat about the locomotive and let you stand on the footplate and feel the heat of the fire.
Or you can go onto the road bridge over the railway admire the view and take pictures of the railway and from the side of the bridge look towards Helston and imagine what the extension to our railway in that direction will eventually look like.
Finally back at Prospidnick Halt where your journey started its time to end your journey. We are dog friendly, but our platform at Prospidnick can be a bit challenging for some dogs. Here Athena is being carried by her owner. Athena is a fixture at the railway and is usually to be found in the guards van which doubles as a Duty Managers office at the end of the platform. She usually is sporting a GWR hat and ready to greet any passing dogs or their owners. We have a number of ways of helping owners with dogs who come to see us. So if your dog does have a problem see a volunteer and we will make sure they get onto the train safely.
We dont have specific dog tickets – but the shop usually has a stock of doggie treats as compensation. Don’t be shy of asking for a treat for your companion.
We also haven’t mentioned the buffet which is adjacent to the shop next to the car park. With an extensive menu you can enjoy a cooked breakfast, delicious lunches and sumptuous cream or afternoon teas.
So that’s it – a tour of the experience, we haven’t mentioned the views which are amazing, nor the riot of wildflowers you will see on your trip. Nor the friendliness of our volunteers whose main aim is to make sure you have a great time and want to come back again.