The Cornish Ghost Railway line that rarely sees a train


He hasn’t seen a passenger since 1901, and nowadays he rarely sees a freight train.

Yet despite all that 120 years of change, evolution and Dr Richard Beeching have given it, a little-seen oddity in south-east Cornwall remains an example of railway past and present.

At Moorswater, an industrial suburb of the market town of Liskeard is a stretch of railway which to this day still connects to the passenger railway line which crosses the Looe Valley at Coombe Junction.

Until 1901 it was an interchange for passengers wishing to go from Looe to Liskeard – they descended at Moorswater and walked up the steep hill towards Liskeard across the land which now houses the A38.

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For this reason the Looe Valley line – itself mostly built on an old canal which was rarely used and proved difficult to make money – became an overnight success after a Cornish engineer called Joseph Thomas designed a then-revolutionary ‘horseshoe junction’. which allowed the line to connect to the main line at Liskeard.

The passenger line to Coombe Junction, where the Moorswater line meets the Looe Valley line is rarely used these days; while all trains change direction here, the station itself, Coombe Junction Halt only sees two trains a day.

Overnight Moorswater station closed and over time and the connection remained it was only used for freight trains, with the former site of Moorswater station serving a production plant for cement.

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However, as time passed and road transport replaced the railways, the use of this section of the railway declined. At most, it now sees one train a week, but even that is intermittent and over the years its continued use has come under threat.

Not one to miss an exploration of railway history, CornwallLive went to take a look at this little-used and unloved sight, from its meeting point with the Looe Valley line at Coombe Junction to its point of termination at Moorswater.


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