THE first passenger trains reached Newquay in the 1870s, but it was in the early 1900s that the town began to take off as a seaside resort, resulting in the first through trains from London in 1906.
There were two routes to Newquay from the Cornish main line – the direct line from Par via Luxulyan, and a more roundabout route from Truro and Chacewater via Perranporth. As demand from tourism grew, the station at Newquay was extended on a number of occasions in the 1920s and 1930s, plus extensive carriage sidings were added on the south side to cope with summer traffic.
With dieselisation in the 1960s came Class 22s and ‘Warships’ – the former in regular use on local trains to Par and Chacewater – with these locos later giving way to ‘Westerns’ on the heavier holiday workings.
The Chacewater route closed in 1963, but the line from Par was still heavily used in the summer months, with through workings from London, the Midlands and the North. Besides the diesel-hydraulic types, these workings brought in Class 45 and 46 ‘Peaks’, Class 47s and later Class 50s.
The 21-mile branch was mostly single track, but had passing loops at Goonbarrow and St Dennis Junction, which divided the route up roughly into thirds and allowed a much more frequent service than is possible today.
Read more in the November issue, on sale now.