LAUNCESTON STEAM RAILWAY
St Thomas Rd, Launceston,
t: 01566 775665
Launceston is an interesting and historical town, once the ancient capital of Cornwall. For the visitor, there is the Norman castle, creating a distinctive landmark; the parish church has a sad story to tell, and is unique in its carved granite exterior. Nearby is the Lawrence House Museum, in a street with exquisite Georgian houses, whilst the town square has buildings both ancient and modern.
Travelling down the hill from the castle, one reaches the terminus of the steam railway. Constructed on the site of the former gasworks, the railway looks as if it has been there for ever, but in fact the route used to be part of the mainline from Waterloo to Padstow. The railway’s free car park is situated on part of the railway station site, at the bottom end of the ‘Zig-zag’ footpath, leading up into the town.
The railway runs along the beautiful and unspoilt Kensey Valley between Launceston and Newmills, a small hamlet 21/2 miles away where it terminates adjacent to Newmills Farm Park.
Trains are all hauled by steam locomotives which once worked in the slate quarries of North Wales. They were built by the Hunslet Engine Company of Leeds between 1883 and 1901, and they are all maintained in the railway’s own well-equipped workshops, where even new boilers have been constructed.
Launceston Station, sheltered by the platform canopy formerly at Tavistock North, also has a specialist bookshop, with a large selection of railway books and DVDs, as well as a gift shop catering for all ages, and a buffet. Refreshments range from hot and cold meals to snacks, and of course, cream teas!
The station area was once the site of an Augustinian Priory, and visitors can view some of the remains. The Museum houses a fascinating collection of items associated with transport, from the days when British engineering was the envy of the world.
Whatever the weather, there is plenty to enjoy at the railway - tickets are valid for unlimited travel on the day of issue, and groups enjoy generous discounts (please telephone for details).
29th March - 3rd April; 5th - 10th April;
17th - 22nd May; 24th - 29th May; 31st May;
Sundays/Mondays/Tuesdays in June;
DAILY from 28th June to 25th September but CLOSED on Saturdays
25th - 30th October
Shop/Café/Museum open from 10.30am
Trains hourly from 11.00am - 4.00pm
Fares: Adult £10.00; Child £6.50; Family (2 adults and up to 4 children) £29.00; Senior Citizen £8.75
Tickets valid for unlimited travel on day of issue.
Group rates are available on application.
The railway and castle offer a reciprocal discount to visitors.