Looe Valley Line

Looe Valley Line

Infobox generic
color = #efefef
name = Looe Valley Line|
img1 = 150238 Looe Valley.jpg|
lbl1 = Location
row1 = Cornwall, United Kingdom
lbl2 = From
row2 = Liskeard
lbl3 = To
row3 = Looe
lbl4 = Distance
row4 = convert|8.75|mi|km|0
lbl5 = Status
row5 = Community railway
lbl6 = Owner
row6 = Network Rail
lbl7 = Principal operator
row7 = First Great Western
lbl9 = Freight operators
row9 = Freightliner UK|
hdr2 = Connecting routes|
lbl21 = At Liskeard
row21 = Cornish Main Line|
hdr3 = Infrastructure|
lbl31 = Line speed
row31 = convert|25|mph|km/h|abbr=on
lbl32 = Number of tracks
row32 = 1
lbl33 = Route Availability
row33 = 4
lbl34 = Freight gauge
row34 = W6A|
hdr4 = History|
lbl41 = Opened
row41 = 1860 - 1901
lbl42 = Built by
row42 = Liskeard and Looe Railway
lbl43 = Subsequent owners
row43 = Great Western Railway
British Railways

The Looe Valley Line is an convert|8.75|mi|km|0 community railway from Liskeard to Looe in Cornwall, United Kingdom, that follows the valley of the East Looe River for much of its course. It is operated by First Great Western.


The line was opened as the Liskeard and Looe Railway on 27 December 1860 from a station at Moorswater, a little west of Liskeard, to the quayside at Looe, replacing the earlier Liskeard and Looe Union Canal. At Moorswater it connected with the Liskeard and Caradon Railway which conveyed granite from quarries on Bodmin Moor.

Passenger services commenced on 11 September 1879, but the Moorswater terminus was inconvenient as it was remote from Liskeard and a long way from the Cornwall Railway station on the south side of the town. On 15 May 1901 the railway opened a curving link line from Coombe Junction, a little south of Moorswater, to the now Great Western Railway station at Liskeard. The section from Coombe Junction to Moorswater was closed to passenger traffic on the same day but passenger numbers tripled. The new connecting line had to climb a considerable vertical interval to reach the Cornish Main Line which passed above Moorswater on a 147 feet (45m) high viaduct. The Liskeard and Looe Railway was taken over by the Great Western Railway in 1909 and the attractive seaside resort of Looe became heavily promoted as a holiday destination in railway's publicity.

The section beyond Looe station to the quay was closed in 1916 and the Caradon line north of Moorswater fell out of use at around the same time.

In 1966 the line was due to be closed under Richard Beeching's "Reshaping of Britain's Railways" plan, but was reprieved just two weeks before its scheduled closure by Minister of Transport Barbara Castle.

Community rail

Since 1992 the Looe Valley Line has been one of the railway lines promoted by the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership. The Looe Valley Railway Company Limited, a non-profit trading arm of the Partnership, has operated a summer ticket and information office at Looe since 2004, and the Friends of the Looe Valley Line group undertake voluntary activities. Passenger numbers have risen from around 58,000 in 2001 to 75,000.

The line is promoted by many means such as regular timetable and scenic line guides, as well as leaflets highlighting leisure opportunities such as walking, birdwatching, and visiting country pubs.

The Looe Valley Line Rail Ale Trail was launched early in 2004 and encourages rail travellers to visit eleven pubs near the line. Seven of these are in Looe, two in Liskeard, one at Sandplace, and one in Duloe, a 30 minute walk from Causeland station. Nine or eleven stamps collected in the Rail Ale Trail leaflet entitle the participant to claim special Looe Valley Line Rail Trail souvenir merchandise.

The line was designated as a community rail line in September 2005, being one of seven pilots for the Department for Transport's Community Rail Development Strategy. This aims to establish the true costs and revenues for the line with an aim of improving them. It is also looking at simplifiying the reversal of trains, considering the costs and benefits should the line be "microfranchised" separately from the Great Western Franchise, and the potential for opening a Park and Ride station at Moorswater where the goods sidings are close to the A38 Liskeard Bypass.

In 2007 the signs on the Looe Valley platform at Liskeard were replaced with brown and cream signs in the style used by the Western Region of British Railways in the 1950s and 1960s.

Passenger volume

The majority of Looe Valley passengers travel the whole length of the line. Around 3,000 people now join or leave trains at Causeland each year, the busiest intermediate station, however many weeks find no one using Coombe Junction. Comparing the year from April 2006 to that which started in April 2002, passenger numbers at Looe have increased by 12%. [cite web|title =Station Usage|work =Rail Statistics|publisher =Office of Rail Regulation| url=http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.1529|accessdate = 2008-06-30] The statistics cover twelve month periods that start in April.


Descending to Coombe

The line is single track for the whole of its length and is worked by just a single train set each day. Trains leave Liskeard railway station from a platform at right angles to the main line platforms, initially running northwards away from Looe. Beyond the platform the line takes a long right-hand curve, passing the connection through the goods yard to the main line, and diving underneath the A38 road twice. It then descends steeply, now heading generally southwards, and passes under the Liskeard viaduct carrying the Cornish Main Line 150 feet (46m) above.

Curving right once more, the train joins the main branch line from Looe at Coombe Junction, and comes to a stand on a small level crossing. Most trains change direction here, the train's conductor operating the points "(see Signalling below)", but two or three in each direction continue a few yards further to call at Coombe Junction Halt at Lamellion. Beyond the platform the line still continues to Moorswater, passing under the main line again beneath the Moorswater viaduct, but this section only sees very infrequent Freightliner (UK) trains carrying cement.

Along the valley

With the driver and guard having now swopped ends, the train recommences its southerly journey, now running alongside the old Liskeard and Looe Union Canal and East Looe River. Another level crossing is passed at Lodge, and then a short journey brings the train to St Keyne Wishing Well Halt, adjacent to the "Magnificant Music Machines" museum of fairground organs and similar instruments. The holy well of St Keyne is near the village which is a ten minute walk from the station.

South of St Keyne the canal swops to the west side of the line for a while, but as the valley closes in it disappears altogether for a distance where the railway was built on top of the reduandant canal. One of the old canal's locks can be seen at Causeland railway station. This is the oldest station on the line as it was opened in 1879 when passenger trains first started operating. In common with most of the stations it has been rebuilt in recent years, a smart brick shelter having replaced the original wooden hut.

Beside the estuary

After passing Sandplace railway station the river forms a tidal estuary on the west of the railway which the line follows to its terminus. Before that place the line passes over one more level crossing, the unusual Terras Crossing. The road approaches the level crossing over a causeway across the estuary which is liable to flooding, so the footpath is raised on boards alongside it. As the crossing is ungated trains must come to a stand and sound their horn before crossing. The ruins of the final lock of the canal is on the east of the line by the level crossing.

After running further alongside the tidal estuary the line finally arrives at Looe railway station, opposite which the West Looe River flows into the East Looe River to form the tidal Looe harbour. The town centre is a five miunte walk further alongside the river and buses to Polperro stop on the road near the station.

All distances along the line are measured from the point near the seven-span road bridge across the river where the Liskeard and Looe Railway connected with the private sidings on Buller Quay. The original station was 14 chains (308 yards or 282m) north of this point, but the line has since been further shortened, so the mile post marking ¼ mile from the 'end' of the line is in fact opposite the platform and just 20 yards from the present stop block.


The service operated by First Great Western since 10 December 2006 consists of nine trains each way daily. During the peak summer period from 20 May to 9 September 2007 three additional services were operated, including a late evening train. Sunday services only operate during this peak period, eight trains running on these days during 2007.

Coombe Junction Halt is only served by two or three trains each way, the remaining intermediate stations are request stops – this means that passengers alighting must tell the conductor that they wish to do so, and those waiting to join must signal clearly to the driver as the train approaches.

The trains are formed of either two-car Class 150 or single-car Class 153 DMUs. 150233 is named "Lady Margret of Looe Valley" (the original "Lady Margret" was a steam locomotive belonging to the Liskeard and Looe Railway), and 153369 is named "The Looe Valley Explorer". Both these trains carry large pictures on the outside showing local scenes, but interwork with other similar trains throughout the First Great Western network so do not work the line every day.


The line is supervised from the signal box at Liskeard which also controls the entry and exit from the branch onto the main line. A complication arises because of the existence of the Coombe to Moorswater freight line, thus the entire branch line is divided into three distinct single track sections controlled by either tokens or wooden staffs.
# The section from Liskeard to Coombe is operated under the authority of a Tyers No. 9 Electric Token System. This consists of a pair of electrically interlocked machines, one in the Liskeard signal box and the other located at the No. 1 ground frame. The pair of machines only allow one token to be removed from either machine at any one time. However, the system has been modified to allow the token to be removed from and returned to the machine at Liskeard, something that normally requires the breaking of a seal and explanatory entry in the train register.
# The section from Looe to Coombe is operated under the authority of a wooden staff which is also has a key attached that unlocks the ground frame that changes the points that allows access to the Looe branch (No.1 ground frame).
# The section from Moorswater to Coombe is operated under the authority of a different wooden staff which also has a key attached that unlocks the ground frame controlling the trap points at the north end of Coombe station (No.2 ground frame).

The train driver is only permitted to enter a section when in possession of the correct staff or token. There is a gap between the three sections at Coombe, but as both the Number 1 Ground Frame (at Coombe Junction) and the station are visible from each other this section is regarded as being within the "station limits" of the ground frame (the 'signalbox'). That is all movements around the No.1 ground frame through to Coombe station must be under the authority of the guard's hand signals (who is acting as a signalman as far as the line's operation is concerned).

The Moorswater section has a fixed 'stop board' protecting the station. Similarly, the Looe section has a 'stop board' before the points at Coombe Junction. There is no 'stop board' on the Liskeard section because the points must be locked in position to allow access to the ground frame's station limits otherwise the Looe branch staff cannot be removed from the ground frame. The stop boards are fixed signals and a train may not be driven past without authority from the guard operating the ground frame.

The Liskeard-Coombe Token is rarely surrendered at Liskeard until the end of the day, unless a goods train is scheduled to run through while the train is there. At Coombe Junction it used to be surrendered to the train's guard who placed it in the token machine at the No. 1 Ground Frame and then used the Coombe-Looe Staff to unlock the points, allowing the train to proceed back through the junction onto this section. However, in practice, the guard usually retains the token for the journey to Looe (in his capacity as signalman) as other trains rarely use the line today. The points are then returned to normal, allowing a goods train to traverse the branch if required, and the Staff is given to the driver as authority to drive to Looe and return. The token machine at Coombe is rarely used these days and indeed the hut that contains it is usually kept locked.

A goods train will similarly use a Liskeard-Coombe Token surrendering it to the guard who, on this movement will insert it into the Coombe token machine. Then guard will then collect the Coombe-Moorswater Staff which is kept in the token machine hut, which gives authority to enter the section to Moorswater. The points at the Number 1 Ground Frame are not changed for this move, but a set of trap points, by the Coombe No. 2 Ground Frame at the north end of the station, must be opened and then closed again once the train has passed over. Since the driver of a goods train has to pull a considerable distace beyond the No.2 ground frame he must physically touch the staff before proceeding out of Coombe station. However, the guard has to retain possession of it in order to operate the trap points allowing access to the branch. Thus the Moorswater branch is actually operated by a variation of the staff and ticket system, the guard's verbal instruction to proceed taking the place of the ticket, once the driver has touched the staff. Once the points have been reset, the guard can give the staff to the driver.


* Department for Transport Rail Group (2005), "Route prospectus for the … Looe Valley Line and … Tamar Valley Line"'
* Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership (2002), "Looe Valley Line Trails from the Track"
* Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership (2005), "Working in Partnership in Devon and Cornwall"
* Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership (2005), "Explore the Beauty of the Tamar Valley and The Looe Valley by Rail"
* Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership (2007), "Spotting Wild Birds by Train"

External links

* [http://www.railaletrail.com Devon and Cornwall Rail Ale Trails]
* [http://www.carfreedaysout.com/ Great Scenic Railways in Devon and Cornwall]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Looe Valley Line — Looe–Liskeard Blick auf den Endbahnhof Looe Streckenlänge: 13,5 km Spurweite: 1435 mm (Normalspur) Legende …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Tamar Valley Line — Infobox rail line name = Tamar Valley Line color = logo width = image width = caption = British Rail Class 153 at Dockyard type = Community railway system = status = locale = Cornwall and Devon start = Plymouth end = Gunnislake stations = routes …   Wikipedia

  • Looe (disambiguation) — Looe may refer to:In geography:* Looe, a town in Cornwall * Liskeard and Looe Union Canal * Looe Island * River LooeIn other fields:* East Looe (UK Parliament constituency), constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of… …   Wikipedia

  • Looe railway station — Infobox UK station name = Looe manager = First Great Western locale = East and West Looe borough = Caradon, Cornwall latitude = 50.3594 longitude = 4.45653 code = LOO years = 1860 events = Opened platforms = 1 lowusage0203 = 72,418 lowusage0405 …   Wikipedia

  • Bahnhof Looe — Looe Valley Line Streckenlänge: 13,5 km Spurweite: 1435 mm (Normalspur) Verlauf Legende …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Liskeard and Looe Railway — Looe Valley Line Streckenlänge: 13,5 km Spurweite: 1435 mm (Normalspur) Verlauf Legende …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Looe — infobox UK place country= England static map type= Cornwall region= South West England official name= Looe latitude= 50.3535 longitude= 4.4540 population= 5,280 (Parish, 2001) civil parish= Looe shire district= Caradon shire county= Cornwall… …   Wikipedia

  • Cornish Main Line — The Royal Albert Bridge Overview Type Heavy rail System National …   Wikipedia

  • Atlantic Coast Line, Cornwall — This article is about the Atlantic Coast Line in Cornwall, UK. For the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, USA, see Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. Atlantic Coast Line The line at St Blazey Bridge alongside the remains of the Par Canal Overvie …   Wikipedia

  • Liskeard and Looe Union Canal — Der Liskeard und Looe Union Kanal ist ein aufgegebener Kanal zwischen Liskeard and Looe in der englischen Grafschaft Cornwall. Der Kanal war knapp 12 km lang und hatte 25 Schleusen. Er wurde im Jahr 1828 eröffnet und war bis 1910 in Betrieb.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”