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Bodmin and Wenford Railway

bodmin and wenford railway

Ride the Rails on a Family Day Out at Bodmin and Wenford Railway

All aboard for a nostalgic vintage train journey on the heritage Bodmin and Wenford Railway in Cornwall. Travelling on lovingly restored steam and diesel trains between Bodmin, Boscarne Junction and Bodmin Parkway, it’s a scenic ride that transports families all the way back to the golden age of rail travel.

Chugging gently past rivers, woods and moorland, the line gives young (and old) trainspotters an authentic taste of yesterday’s railways. Here’s how to enjoy a memory-making family day out with Bodmin and Wenford’s special steam trains.

bodmin and wenford railway tank engine

Getting There

The Bodmin and Wenford Railway has stations at Bodmin General, Bodmin Parkway and Boscarne Junction. Parking or bus/rail connections are available at all.

Bodmin Parkway lies on the main Paddington line while Bodmin General is close to the town centre. Boscarne Junction is more remote but within walking distance of St Blazey.

Make sure that you don’t mix up Bodmin Parkway (the mainline station on the edge of town) and Bodmin General (the HQ close to Bodmin town centre).

Boscarne Junction is situated next to the Camel Trail, a popular footpath along the former railway trackbed which is owned and managed by Cornwall Council. The station has a waiting room during the days that trains operate.

Opening Times

Trains run on various dates – mainly weekends and school holidays between Easter and October. The basic 2023 timetable is:

  • April – September: Weekends and Bank Holidays
  • October: Weekend 15/16th only

Trains operate 11am – 4:30pm but check timetables. Extra event days and dining trains run at Christmas.

You can find more details about the timetable currently in operation on the railway’s website.

bodmin and wenford station

Tickets and Fares

Standard fares (2023 prices) are:

  • Adult (16+ years): £16 return, £10 single
  • Child (3-15 years): £10 return, £7 single

Book online for discount advance fares. Under 3s travel free.

The Steam Train Experience

The 6.5 mile journey between Bodmin and Boscarne Junction takes around 50 minutes in each direction. The train ambles through pretty Cornish countryside, crossing the River Camel enroute.

Heritage diesel trains operate too but for the full vintage atmosphere, time your visit to ride behind one of the stately steam locomotives in action.

Onboard, delight at stylish 1950s compartments with sliding doors. Train buffs will enjoy the Engine Shed visitor centre displays too.

wenford railway spring

Bodmin and Wenford Railway Locomotives

The railway’s workhorses are the two Tanat Valley Tank engines, which originally worked on a small quarry line in Wales. These classic 0-6-2 tank locomotives were built in the early 20th century and carry on the railway tradition with their gleaming green and black liveries.

Complementing them is the distinctive ex-MoD diesel locomotive which was originally used for shunting duties before being transferred for civilian use. With its angular features and yellow-and-grey color scheme, it provides a contrast to the traditional steam engines.

For special occasions, the Bodmin and Wenford railway has several other locomotives that operate guest services or temporary shuttle runs. One is the imposing GWR Manor Class steam engine which cuts an impressive sight with its Brunel-inspired wide firebox and high red boiler. There’s also the tiny Peckett 0-4-0 saddle tank, one of the smallest standard gauge steam locomotives still operating. Its compact size allows it to easily negotiate the tight curves of the line.

No roster would be complete without a nod to the railway’s history – the NG-13 diesel shunter. This little workhorse served the Wenford mineral line for many years, and still retains its well-worn patina despite no longer handling heavy aggregate trains. It is sometimes used for infrastructure trains, or stands in at Bodmin General station as a reminder of the line’s industrial heritage transporting ball clay from Wenford to the docks at Bodmin.

station

History of the Railway

he Bodmin and Wenford railway has a long history deeply intertwined with the industrial development of Cornwall. The line was originally conceived in the 19th century as a means of transporting china clay from the quarries northeast of Bodmin to the port at Bodmin for export. The first section from Wenford Bridge to Bodmin was opened in 1834 by the Bodmin and Wadebridge railway. Despite financial troubles, further extensions eventually linked the line to both Wenford and Boscarne Junction by the 1870s, completing the route.

For over a century the railway thrived hauling clay, granite, sand and general goods between the inland quarries and the town. At its peak in 1930 over 200,000 tons were transported annually. However, like many minor railways, services began declining after WWII as road competition increased. Passenger services ceased in 1967 and goods services struggled on using second-hand steam locomotives to work the line.

By the 1980s, with mines closing and tonnage disappearing, closure seemed imminent. However, a preservation society stepped in and bought the line in 1983 to save it for posterity. Thanks to the efforts of volunteers, the Bodmin and Wenford Railway Preservation Society reopened the line, restoring services for visitors to once again enjoy travelling through the Cornish countryside behind heritage steam and diesel locomotives. Branching out from its clay transportation roots, the railway now also offers a vital community amenity supporting the local economy through tourism.

bodmin and wenford railway from front

Special Events

As well as normal service trains, special events run throughout the year:

  • Afternoon Teas – indulge in a vintage cream tea in a heritage dining carriage.
  • Christmas Trains – festive steam trains with carols and Santa aboard.
  • Footplate rides – book to stand beside the steam driver for hands-on views of the locomotive in action.
  • Steam train send off and wake – especially designed for rail enthusiast’s final journey!

With their evocative sights, sounds and smells of steam, the heritage trains of Bodmin and Wenford promise a wonderfully nostalgic family adventure. All aboard!

bodmin and wenford railway

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dogs allowed on the Bodmin and Wenford Railway? – Yes, dogs on leads are allowed throughout the stations and on board the reains, except for at teh on train bar area. Some of the special trains including the Murder Mystery trains and Santa Specials do not allow dogs.

Do I have to buy tickets in advance? – It is possible to turn up on the day without a ticket, but they cannot guarantee seats on the train, so you are strongly advised to book ahead if possible.

Are the trains and stations wheelchair accessible? – The stations are all wheelchair accessible, but some of the carriages are from the 1950s and are more difficult for wheelchairs. The railway have a page with more detail about access here.

GWR tank at Bodmin railway

Other nearby attractions to visit

  • Eden Project – Massive educational botanical gardens housed in biomes containing thousands of plant species from around the world. An intriguing day out.
  • Lanhydrock House – Impressive Victorian country house owned by the National Trust with expansive gardens, scenic trails and formal rooms to explore.
  • Jamaica Inn – Historic smugglers inn on Bodmin Moor made famous by Daphne du Maurier’s classic novel about smugglers and pirates told in the museum.
  • Cardinham Woods – Secluded haven with pretty woodland trails, forest activities and peaceful walking spots surrounded by nature.
  • Camel Valley Vineyard – Scenic vineyard near Bodmin offering educational tours explaining the winemaking process and tutored sparkling wine tastings.
  • Restormel Castle – Picturesque medieval castle ruins set above the River Fowey showcasing Norman architecture. Interesting to explore for history fans.
  • Golitha Falls – Idyllic riverside woodland walk leading to the stunning natural waterfall feature on the River Fowey. Perfect picnic spot.
  • St Neot Church – Historic 15th century parish church containing stunning medieval stained glass and carved bench ends. Linked to the legend of Loe Pool.
  • Colliford Lake – Beautiful 500 acre reservoir nestled on Bodmin Moor, perfect for walking, cycling, fishing and watersports within tranquil wooded surrounds.

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