Tramways in The South West

Falmouth Swanpool beach


Prepared By John Perkin
Photos courtesy Dave Wilshaw

This miniature electric railway at Swan Beach was a children's amusement and pleasure layout using 10.25 inch gauge track. The location of the track is now a car park.

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The owner of the railway was the famous local author Mr. L. Fisher Barham who also owned a cycle, toy and model shop in High Street, Falmouth.

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The railway was only there for two or three summer seasons in the late 1950's and was run by Mr. Barham's assistant and mechanic, Mr. Harry Baker. At the time Mr. Barham was Hon. Sec. of Falmouth MRC.

From Mr. Eade’s memory the layout was a rectangle or square with one siding having a covered shed to store the train overnight.

The train was probably manufactured by Lines Brothers (Triang) and consisted of an electric driving car collecting voltage from the track and hauling three or four passenger bogie vehicles.

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Mr Eade remembers seeing a section of track was brought to the Falmouth Model Railway Club one evening to be mended or modified. It had wooden sleepers and hollow "sheradised" steel rails.

The constant hammering of laden vehicles on the nose of the crossing of the turnout resulted in it having to be remade from solid steel for the second season.

He seems to remember that the club were invited to private preview before the first season.

Barham  book Both Mr. Barham and Mr. Baker are now deceased but Mr. Eade will make further enquiries at the Club which is still thriving after over 50 years, with two members who were in nearly at the start.

Mr. L. Fisher Barham set up his own publishing company" Glasney Press" and in 1972 published "Cornwall's Electric Tramcars" covering the Camborne & Redruth tramway. This book has become the standard reference to this tramway.

The electric locomotive collected the current from the rails so it and the coaches must have been fitted with either insulated wheels or axles.

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Minic 6 It was named "SWAN POOL" and was of diesel outline and numbered "D65".

The locomotive pulled three open "Pullman" cars and the complete train was called "THE SEASIDE SPECIAL".

Total passenger load was around eight children including two on the locomotive.

A recent photo from the site provided by Nigel Spate

Swanpool Site

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