Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 143,344 pages of information and 230,027 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
The West Cornwall Railway was a railway company in Cornwall. It ran from a junction with the Truro-Falmouth line of the Cornwall Railway, in the parish of Carredras near Truro, to Penzance.
Powers to purchase the Hayle Railway were obtained and, because that line was of the standard gauge, the Act authorised the West Cornwall to be on the same gauge so that the engines and rolling stock of the Hayle line might be used. It was, however, provided that should any other railway be made in Cornwall the Railway Commissioners could order the West Cornwall to adopt the broad gauge or to lay down an additional rail to suit the broad-gauge system. When through-communication from Plymouth was established the latter alternative was adopted.
1844 The company was formed to operate the existing Hayle Railway between the towns of Hayle and Redruth and extend the railway to Penzance and Truro.
NB. There were ten of the well-known Brunel-built wooden viaducts between Truro and Penzance. They have now (1924) disappeared, having been replaced by stone structures.
1866 The West Cornwall Railway was leased to the Great Western Railway, Bristol and Exeter Railway and South Devon Railway which resulted in direct services to London from Penzance for the first time after the broad gauge had been added to the existing standard gauge tracks.
1876 Following the amalgamations of 1876 the Great Western Railway was the sole leasor until the nationalisation of British Railways on 1 January 1948. The broad gauge was disused after 20 May 1892.