Liskeard and Caradon Railway

Liskeard And Caradon Railway

Liskeard and Caradon Railway

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The Liskeard and Caradon Railway was a mineral railway in Cornwall, in the United Kingdom, which opened in 1844 and closed in 1917. Its neighbour, the Liskeard and Looe Railway, opened in 1860 and is still operating as the Looe Valley Line.


Caradon Hill was once an important source of minerals,including copper, tin, lead and granite. The minerals were carried by packhorse from the mines to a canal basin at Moorswater, near Liskeard. Here, they were loaded into barges and carried down the Liskeard and Looe Union Canal (opened 1828) to the coastal seaport of Looe.

Early years

By 1840, the traffic was growing beyond the capacity of the packhorses. It was impossible to extend the canal northwards because of the hilly terrain so a railway was the obvious solution. The Liskeard and Caradon Railway (LCR) was authorised by an Act of Parliament of 27 June 1843 and the first stage, from Moorswater to the South Caradon Mine was opened in November 1844. A branch to Cheesewring Quarry was opened in March 1846. The original track used T-section rail in chairs, fixed to stone blocks. It was laid to standard gauge (4ft 8½in) although there was, at the time, no prospect of a link-up with any other standard-gauge system. The route of the line went up the valley from Moorswater and close to Wood Hill manor, Tremabe, Tremar, St Cleer and Darite to the South Caradon mine (just North of Crows Nest).

The Act of 1843 prohibited the use of locomotives on pain of a fifty pound...
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