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1852 | Completion of the Cornwall Railway | West Briton 5 March 1852

The West Briton from 5 March 1852 has a thrilling account of the completion of the Cornwall Railway


5 MARCH, 1852

This line is now in a finished state throughout the entire distance from Penzance to Redruth, and is only awaiting the inspection of the Government official, to be opened for public traffic. In the mean time the stability of the works have been tested by passing over the line heavy loads of ore and ballasting, and trial trips have also been made with passenger carriages.


After leaving Camborne station on the new line of rails, there is a considerable cutting, for some distance through hard greenstone, which was the only part of the line, we were informed, that required blasting in making the excavations. After passing this the ground was more easy for working, and then the train goes over the Penponds viaduct, with its embankment about 70 feet high. About a mile and a half, or more, of the old rails, is used between Camborne and Hayle, the gradients in no part of the line being above one in sixty, and with no curve that is dangerous. After the Penponds viaduct, the train passes over the Angarrack viaduct, which is a stupendous work about 120 feet high, wholly composed of timber, but constructed on scientific principles in such a manner as to ensure the utmost amount of strength. The cost of this viaduct, we understand, was £ 4,000, whereas if an embankment had been made there its cost would have been £ 18,000, or if the whole had been constructed of masonry the cost would have been £ 30,000. After passing this viaduct the train was stopped, and the directors alighted and walked down to view the work.

The train then proceeded to Hayle, passing over the Guildford viaduct, about 80 feet high, and arriving at the Hayle new station. Here there were a large number of persons assembled, colours were hoisted, the shipping were decorated with flags, more persons entered the carriages, and the engine was decorated with the royal standard, with a flag bearing the Cornish arms, and its motto “one and all,” and with another flag of the Penzance borough arms. Hayle had quite a gay and holiday appearance for the occasion. After a short stay the train proceeded, the remaining viaduct passed over being that at the Hayle Foundry, which is about thirty feet above the level of the turnpike road, or about forty from the bed of the river.

The travelling was then accelerated to about twenty-five miles per hour, the train passing under some bridges erected to carry the country roads across the line; but between Hayle and Penzance the line on the whole passes through a country remarkably favourable for railway construction. The train soon came in sight of the picturesque St. Michael’s Mount, and the open expanse of Mount’s Bay, with a considerable fleet of wind-bound vessels at anchor.