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Railhub Archive
1996-11-01 DoT-001
Department of Transport


Watts approves the re-opening of Cornish rail freight line

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Department of Transport

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Department of Transport

Watts approves the re-opening of Cornish rail freight line

1 November 1996
source Department of Transport
type Press release

note 333/96

John Watts, Minister for Railways, Roads and Local Transport, today
announced that approval had been given to allow a freight railway
near Bodmin in Cornwall to re-open, for the first time in 13 years.

The new six mile (10 km) line would be used to carry china clay
between the Wenford Dries factory at Poley's Bridge and Boscarne,
near Bodmin. From there, the china clay trains would continue on
existing lines to the port near Fowey. This traffic is currently
taken by lorries.

Mr Watts said:
"The reinstatement of this railway continues the Government's
policy to encourage the transfer of freight from road to rail.

"Provided they can secure the necessary funding, the promoters now
have the opportunity to build and use a freight railway, attracting
traffic away from local roads."

The powers granted will allow the railway to go ahead if the
promoters, North Cornwall District Council and Bodmin & Wenford Rail
Freight Limited, are able to raise the necessary private finance to
supplement any public grant which may be awarded.

The proposals were first considered at a public local inquiry in
January 1994. The inquiry was re- opened in February this year to
enable further evidence to be heard on the financial case. The
Inspector reaffirmed his initial view that the scheme should not be
approved but, having considered the inquiry reports and the further
representations received since the close of the re-opened inquiry,
the Secretary of State has decided not to accept the Inspector's


1. 7 The application for the Bodmin & Wenford Light Railway Order
was one of the last to be made in England under the Light Railways
Act 1896. The Act has been replaced (except in Scotland) by the
Transport and Works Act 1992.

2. The Order authorises the construction and operation of a
freight only railway between Wenford and Boscarne, near Bodmin.

3. The line was operated for freight traffic by British Rail
until 1983. After closure it was converted to form part of a track
for walkers and cyclists called the Camel Trail. The local planning
authority gave permission for the line to be re-opened before the
Order application was lodged in December 1992. A local public inquiry
into the order took place in January 1994. The Inspector, Mr David
Mellor LLB, recommended that the Order be refused. Following
consideration of the Inspector's report and further independent
advice on the cost estimates, the Secretary of State determined to
make the Order. His decision letter was issued in November 1994 but
was withdrawn subsequently to allow the parties to present more
evidence on the financial viability of the project. This evidence was
heard by the same Inspector when the inquiry was re- opened in
February 1996.

4. Copies of the Secretary of State's decision letter and of the
Inspector's reports (complete or a summary of his conclusions and
recommendation) are available on request.

Railhub Archive ::: 1996-11-01 DoT-001


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