Project Update as at 21 September 2016

Volunteers meeting on Wednesday 21 September - James updated us on the status of our projects - 

Steam Comes to Helston

Transport of William Murdoch still continues to be a problem although James has been assured by the people at Southall that it is "imminent".

Coal is arriving in the next few days.

Driver training is being provided by Plym Valley Railway.

Truthall and beyond

Most of us are aware that Truthall flooded to a depth of about 900mm (over 2 foot) in the mid-September storms resulting in the flooding of the storage container and damage to one of the Kango's.

Of more significance is that the long term "flooding problem" has not been resolved as a result of the recent work to dig a drainage ditch.  This is a set-back and will be receiving priority attention from the project team - including the possibility of Saturday working to overcome this and other delays.

The good news is that the track has been laid to the end of the platform.

Rolling stock - Carriage - Volunteers Vote

James asked the Volunteers present to vote on the acquisition of a carriage.

This is required for a number of reasons including -

  • The arrival of William Murdoch will generate significant demand for rides and a single brake van will not suffice.  
  • Extension of the line towards Prospidnick (as per the recent planning permission) requires us to reduce rides to once per hour (from once every 30 minutes).

None of the existing carriages at the site are serviceable - particularly with the 117 going to the Plym Valley Railway. 

James has researched alternatives and the best option appears to be a British Rail Mark 1 suburban coach available from the National Rail Museum free of charge - all we have to do is transport it.

There is also the issue of upgrading it to a standard suitable for use on the line.

After much discussion - the unanimous vote of the members present was to take advantage of this offer from the NRW and to finalise arrangements for it's "purchase" and transport.  James initial thoughts are that this could take as long as 6 months.

And access to Prospidnick for delivery remains an issue - more later.


Preparations for the arrival of William Murdoch continue -

Security improvements from the public right of way at the top of the site are underway.

Loco-shed - it looks like we will build a modular shed that will - 1 - need planning permission and 2 - can be re-located in future if needed.


Access to the site needs to be improved - either by obtaining a right of way over an existing track - or - building the access road that is part of the Prospidnick planning application.

VOLUNTEER REQUIRED - James appealed for a volunteer who can help him with the paperwork that is required to progress the outline planning permission that was obtained for Prospidnick a few months ago.  James is finding this to be a drain on his time given that there are so many projects underway - and he has a "proper job".

So - if anyone can help - or knows someone who can help - it would be much appreciated - please contact James.  A knowledge of the planning process is essential.

Chairman's Working Committee

James has set up a committee to help with the multitude of projects that are in progress.  It is project orientated.  Anyone who would like to initiate a project - and act as Project Manager - please talk to James.


James is keen to re-balance the image of the Railway  towards a "heritage railway" rather than a tourist attraction as at Flambards.

To this end the site will be re-structured to focus on the railway itself and it's infrastructure so that it supports the Companies objectives.

The site will continue to have a funding focus to support the Charity.

This 2 site strategy is common among other heritage railways.


Other Projects

Cornwall Council - following discussions with other railways in Cornwall it is apparent that CC is NOT supportive of heritage railways and does not understand the economic benefit that they can bring to the County.

James will be working with the other Cornish railways to develop a strategy to make the Council more supportive.


Other projects

Line side cabinets - we have 5 metal cabinets that are being restored.

Doors to the barn - work has started to make the bard a workshop.  Also a project to clear out lots of unwanted items that have been accumulated over the last few years.

Re-construction of a van (currently all we have is the frame) with a view to displaying our collection of memorabilia.

Truthall plate layers hut - work is progressing to lay the floor and build the walls and roof.

Update on 2016 trading

Rides down the line are up by 20% in comparison to the same period in 2015.  Also revenue received from rides, refreshments and the shop has also increased by a similar amount.