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China Clay Weekend

China Clay Weekend

Event Date: 15th September 2018- 16th September 2018


Join us for a weekend celebrating our China Clay railway heritage. Did you know, the steam railway owes its existence to the fact that the Bodmin branch line to Wenford Bridge China Clay dry remained in use into the eighties.

Subject to availability, the team will be running trains that worked in the Cornish China Clay industry, including GWR heavy freight engine 4247 which worked China Clay trains from Par to Fowey, GWR pannier tank 4612 and our Class 37 diesel engine with its strong local Cornish connections.  Judy and Denise - local China Clay engines - will be on static display at Bodmin General.  We regret that we are unable to run the Beattie Well Tank as previosuly planned as it currently remains in York.

Judy and crew with a brake van

They‘ll be joined by friends from Wheal Martyn, providing a fascinating insight into the start of the ‘pit to port’ china clay trail. Plus there’ll be interactive activities for families to get hands on.

Wheal Martyn's ERF vehicle

Laura Lane Ceramics: Have a go at pot throwing – throughout the weekend
We’re delighted to welcome back Laura Lane for this year’s China Clay weekend. On the Saturday and the Sunday between 10.30/ 11am until 12.30 then 1.30- 3pm there’ll be 10 minute slots for you to book in and have a go on the potter’s wheel under Laura’s expert guidance. Not just for the kids, get hands on and stuck in - literally! To find out more about Laura and her work visit www.lauralane.co.uk.

Laura Lane Ceramics - hands on sessions on the potter's wheel

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 chart the journey of clay from pit to port via the railway line, and which highlight the role the clay trade played in the railway’s expansion. 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.

Kerris: ‘The Cornish Constable’ – 12pm both days
We’re delighted that acclaimed Cornish artist Kerris will be joining us over our China Clay weekend, and giving a short talk on his paintings featuring our engine Judy and also his earlier career as a professional signwriter, which included completing the original signwriting on Judy and many ECC clay wagons. Copies of his two prints featuring Judy will be on sale from the shop at Bodmin General over the weekend. To find out more about Kerris and his work visit www.kerrisart.co.uk.

Judy at Par docks - painting by Kerris

The timetable for Saturday is as previously published:

We have very slightly altered the timetable for Sunday and it will now be as below:


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

Steam, Beer & Jazz
Why not combine your visit over the China Clay weekend with our popular Steam Beer and Jazz train on Saturday 15th September? Click here for tickets and more information.