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Victorian Weekend

Victorian Weekend

Event Date: 20th October 2018- 21st October 2018

Bodmin Railway, in partnership with Cornwall’s Regimental Museum, presents - 


Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st October

Journey back to the Victorian era with Bodmin & Wenford Railway and friends at Cornwall’s Regimental Museum. Celebrate our Victorian heritage, and come in costume or dress up on the day. The railway have partnered up with Cornwall’s Regimental Museum to offer a range of themed activities across both locations, giving families and individuals the chance to get hands on with Victorian history.


The Station

Our station, Bodmin General, was built during the peak of the Victorian era, when the Bodmin branch line opened from Bodmin Road (now Bodmin Parkway) to Bodmin in 1887. The station retains much of its Victorian charm today.


The Royal Saloon - GWR Special Saloon 248.

The star attraction! We’re offering you the very rare chance to travel on board the railway’s royal saloon, the country’s oldest GWR luxury carriage – formerly used by Victorian theatre and opera star Adelina Patti. 

Hailed by composer Verdi as perhaps the finest singer who had ever lived, Adelina Patti was a celebrated Victorian Opera singer with an international reputation. Adored by the public, high society and royalty, she was also known for her kindness and generosity.

Adelina recognised the railway's potential as the forefront of Victorian technology, not only to facilitate her worldwide career, but to bring the rich and famous to her seculded castle in Wales. She secured private use of the GWR Special Saloon 248 to bring her distinguished guests to the castle – guests who included the brightest stars of the Victorian era, even royalty - The Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward, was known to be a fan of Adelina’s and railway records show that he travelled in the GWR Special Saloon 248.

Adelina’s carriage, the GWR Special Saloon 248 (renamed in 1907 as the 9044), will be the star of the show at our Victorian Weekend. Constructed with all the opulence of the Victorian era, the carriage was built to provide luxurious travel for the rich and famous, with sumptuous levels of comfort to guests. The high-quality furnishings included moveable armchairs, and etched glass panels across three sides gave light and a panoramic view. The carriage has a fascinating history all of its own – and you can learn more about it, as well as Adelina, in the book ‘Something Special: The intriguing story of the country’s oldest GWR luxury carriage’ by John Burden (available in our gift shop).



Fowler Ploughing Engine, No. 15163 

This 16nhp, 20 ton ploughing engine was one of the many BB1 type built for the War Department during the first World War.  She was sold to G Gunter of Wetherby, Yorkshire.  Purchased by the present owners - Daniel Bros of Bodmin - in 1972 from Charles Roades of Caxton, Cambridgeshire, who with his late father had amassed a large collection of ploughing engines and tackle.

The winch beneath the boiler is to enable the engine to pull cultivating implements across the field, thus helping to prevent soil compaction as the heavy engine simply moved up the headland. The rubber tyres as fitted are not original fitments but do make the engine more comfortable and acceptable when travelling on the road.

The engine has just been reassembled following a major boiler overhaul by Sam Henwood engineering in Cornwall. The original hydraulic test is recorded in a brass plate on the engine- and a new test was added on the rebuilt boiler exactly 100 years later!

The Fowler Ploughing Engine is not strictly Victorian (being built in 1918) however it was constructed during the heyday of steam ploughing, which spanned the period between 1860 and 1919. On a Victorian farm, a team of working horses could plough about an acre of farmland a day. The invention of steam ploughing allowed farmers to complete the job much more quickly, at a rate of 20 acres a day.

Most ploughing engines like the Fowler travelled from farm to farm, their operators living and working on the road. Farmers would often provide lodgings and food for the ploughman, as well as coal and water for the engine, in return for his services.

Historic records indicate that only one pair of ploughing engines worked in Cornwall- on a farm near St Agnes in the 1800’s. In modern times more have been seen in the county and can be seen at ploughing demonstrations.

Continuing the tradition, this engine travels the countryside still, touring rallies across the South West. Come along and see her in all her glory at Bodmin Railway’s Victorian Weekend.


Bodmin & Wenford Railway Trust: a look into the archive | 1pm both days

We’re pleased to welcome the Bodmin & Wenford Railway Trust for this event. They’ll be bringing a selection of documents and items from their archive to give visitors a very rare chance to see some of their collection up close. Specifically they will be bringing along original documents which highlight the role the clay trade played in the railway’s expansion during the Victorian era. The Trust will be on hand to answer questions about their archive and the work they do to preserve and restore the railway’s locomotives. You can also find out how your donations to the Trust are vital to preserving our railway heritage, and of course you can donate on the day.


Traditional Carousel 

Don't miss your chance to take a turn on the Carousel, at the railway throughout the weekend. This childrens fairground ride was built during the 1920's inspired by the traditional Victorian design, and is operated by hand. 


Cornwall’s Regimental Museum

Just over the road from Bodmin General is Cornwall’s Regimental Museum, situated inside the Victorian depot building of Bodmin’s Victoria Barracks.  Explore the building, the museum and the regimental cells, and take part in special Victorian activities across the weekend - 

Get up close and handle some amazing Victorian objects

Follow the activity trail around Bodmin Keep, there’s prizes to be won!

Craft activities - make a mosaic inspired by the Lucknow Quilt, or create an air dried clay Victoria Cross

Treat yourself to a quarter of old fashioned sweets in the traditional sweet shop!

Visit the museum's website, here. 



Update 17th October - 6435 has unfortunately suffered a mechanical failure and hence will not form part of this weekend, our recently overhauled Austerity 2766 will take it's place for the event.

Please note the timetable is subject to change and locomotive availability.


Buy tickets for travel on the day from the booking office at Bodmin General, or with cash from the ticket inspector on the train. Explore six and a half miles of track and make the most of all the additional activities with a Freedom of the Line ticket - pay once and travel all day!

Adult: £13.50

Senior & concession: £12.50

Child: £6.50 (Under 3s FREE)

Dogs: £1