General Station, Bodmin, PL31 1AQ
Tel: (01208) 73666
A journey back in time
Discover the excitement and romance of steam travel with a journey back in time on the Bodmin branch line. For decades the railways bought holidaymakers to the best parts of the 'Cornish Rivera'. A day-out on the Bodmin & Wenford Railway allows you to enjoy and explore some of Cornwall's finest countryside from a steam hauled branch line train. As the train climbs the steep gradient from Bodmin Parkway to Bodmin General, watch out for the wildlife and flora which flourishes close to the tracks. At the stations pause and explore the countryside on foot. Or simply sit back, relax and remember the great days of steam travel.
The restored Great Western Railway station at Bodmin General is the line's headquarters. There is an interesting collection of locomotives undergoing restoration and home-made refreshments are available in the station buffet. The Light Infantry Museum is opposite the station, and Bodmin Town Museum is a short walk away in the town centre.
Escape from the busy roads and take the train to Colesloggett Halt from where a footpath leads into Cardinham Woods. Spend a while exploring the Woods and its wildlife, which the Forestry Commission have cared for since 1922. Specially way-marked trails introduce you to the natural peace and beauty of the forest, with occasional glimpses of squirrels, rabbits or foxes to be seen. Refreshments and a cycle hire service are available in Cardinham Woods.
From Bodmin Parkway Station, countryside footpaths lead to the delightful gardens and 17th century house at Lanhydrock, which is owned by the National Trust (entrance fee payable). The station is also used by main line trains allowing you to travel by rail throughout Cornwall. Full details of the country walks from the stations are given in the Visitors Guide, available from Bodmin General station shop.
Our new line to Boscarne provides a direct link with the popular 'Camel Trail' foot and cycle path to Wadebridge and Padstow.
The Bodmin branch line was authorized by Act of Parliament on 10th August 1882. The first sod was cut in March 1884 and the line opened from Bodmin Road (now Bodmin Parkway) to Bodmin, a distance of 3.5 miles, on 27th May 1887, built to standard gauge (4 feet 8.5 inches).
A further line, from Bodmin to Boscarne Junction, a distance of three miles, was opened in September 1888 to connect with the existing Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway, which had opened back in 1834 (running from Wadebridge to Wenfordbridge, with a branch to Bodmin). The Bodmin & Wadebridge line was one of the first railways in the world to use steam locomotives and certainly the first in Cornwall, and was taken over by the London & South Western Railway in 1847.
The LSWR became part of the Southern Railway in 1923, and this formed the Southern Region of British Railways upon nationalization in 1948. BR Western Region, as successor to the GWR, took control of the SR stations in the area for commercial purposes from 1950 to 1958, and gained complete control in January 1963.
Steam hauled passenger services ended on the line in 1963. Rationalisation started in June 1964 when a shuttle service was introduced between Bodmin North and Boscarne Junction, where new exchange facilities were established. Withdrawal of all passenger services between Padstow and Bodmin Road took place on 30th January 1967.
Freight trains continued to run between Bodmin Road and Wadebridge until September 1978. The line to Wenfordbridge remained open for china clay traffic until 3rd October 1983, when complete closure of the route took place.
Efforts to preserve the branch line, with a view to reopening it as a heritage steam railway, began shortly after closure. The Bodmin Railway Preservation Society (BRPS) was thus formed in July 1984. In a bid to raise the £139,600 needed to purchase the line from Bodmin Parkway to Boscarne Junction, via Bodmin General, the Bodmin & Wenford Railway plc was formed by the Society. The Company successfully purchased the track, and North Cornwall District Council (now part of Cornwall Council) secured the land, from British Rail.
The first Open Day was held on Sunday 1st June 1986, when a small steam locomotive – former Devonport Dockyard 0-4-0ST No 19 – performed shunting demonstrations at Bodmin General Station. These were the first authorised train movements in the preservation era, and thus the Bodmin & Wenford Railway is proud to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2011.
The necessary Light Railway Order was obtained on 31st August 1989. Regular services between Bodmin Parkway and Bodmin General were restored on 17th June 1990, and the line was extended back to Boscarne Junction six years later, on 15th August 1996.
Sunset Steam Trains
Bring your friends along for a memorable evening on our summer Pasty Specials. These depart Bodmin General station at 7pm on Tuesdays and Fridays between July 16th and August 30th inclusive. Locally made Cornish Pasties (traditional and vegetarian) are available to order.
Drive a Locomotive!
Achieve that childhood ambition and become an Engine Driver! One and two-day "footplate experience" courses using steam & diesel locomotives are held in April, May and October. Full tuition and safety instruction given. Please ask for details.
Christmas Steam Trains
Santa will be visiting the Railway before Christmas, handing out presents to the Children (seasonal refreshments for adults). Between Boxing Day and New Years Day, walk off the Christmas Pudding on our Mince Pie Rambler steam trains. Details and booking forms are available after August.
Just 0.5 mile south of the town on the B3268.
10.00am - 5.30pm
Trains run to timetable
Bodmin Bodmin Jail Bodmin Town Museum Camel Valley Vineyard
The Camel Trail D.C.L.I. Regimental Museum Cardinham Woods Cornwall's Railways