"We're going to need a bigger station!"
Why are we doing this?
Thirty years ago we began running trains out of Bodmin General station. Since then we have carried more and more passengers each year.
In those early years, a two coach train was sufficient, indeed it reflected the level of operation established by the GWR and perpetuated by British Rail, but not anymore. The number of passengers we carry in a typical August can exceed the totals carried for a whole year in BR days. Bodmin General was not designed to handle the 4, 5 or even sometimes 6 coach trains which we are now regularly called upon to provide. We are a victim of our success however we have reached maximum capacity, in operational terms. More importantly handling greater numbers of passengers on one train adds to the pressure of our engines, coaches and platform staff, as well as the station facilities. Longer, heavier trains adds to the work our engines have to deal with on our notorious steep and curving lines. It adds to the wear and tear on locomotives, coaches and track.
A second platform will greatly improve railway operations and make for a more enjoyable visit for our passengers. The flexibility to operate twice as many trains will mean more frequent departures (and arrivals) at General, reducing passenger waiting times, easing congestion and peak periods for our café, shop and platform facilities.
Operating shorter trains which will extend the life of our engines, coaches and track. It will eliminate unnecessary double heading and provide a more interesting spectacle with trains coming and going from Bodmin General.
What are we going to do?
Bodmin General Station is getting a new platform.
We’re going to upgrade the existing run round loop line into a passenger carrying line. A new 2.60m wide platform will be constructed to serve this. The storage siding behind will need to be slewed away to give the necessary clearance, where required, and be lowered to allow platform level access to service rolling stock stored in it.
In order to allow access into the new platform to and from both our Main and Branch lines we will need to install a new crossover, adjacent to the engine shed.
With the additional point work and the introduction of two platforms for arrival and departures, the existing signalling system will have to be significantly revised to allow for safe operation as well as meeting the requirements of the Regulators.
We are fortunate to have the services of a retired signalling engineer and designer. He has managed to not only create a viable scheme, but to do so using the existing frame in the signal box.
How are we going to do this?
The design for this scheme has evolved since the first tentative drawings and costs were prepared in 2017 and we now have a fully costed design and construction programme.
We are dividing the works into two Phases. The first will deal with the Enabling Works (moving things away, and relocating where necessary, to make space for the platform) followed by an element of civil engineering (relocating drainage runs, lowering and adjusting track), constructing the new platform and modification to the signalling to allow this. Phase 1 is due for completion by the end of February 2020.
The second phase will comprise of the installation of the crossover, other alterations to track work and the completion of the changes of the signalling. This work is scheduled to be completed a year later, by March 2021, and in readiness for the new operating season.
Regardless of the work, we will not interfere with the operation of our railway. There is some work that can be done whilst trains are running, and the rest when we are running limited days only and through the winter months.
Who is going to do this work?
As is the tradition of most heritage railways - the volunteers!
We have a core of active members who help run and operate our railway, many of whom are keen to help with this project. We will also make use of a small amount of paid labour to assist with the heavier site works. Our Track Gang are going to be involved in the alterations to our track but we are also looking for external support from other agencies as well as offering work experience for the local colleges in Cornwall.
The intention is that the majority of the platform construction will be carried out by Cormac, Cornwall Council’s contracting operation, as part of their further contribution to the scheme.
How much is it going to cost?
The total project cost is £453,500.
The project total might seem high for building something as simple as a platform, however there are many important additional elements.
|£52,600||Project Design & Management|
|£20,900||Civils and P-Way|
|£111,100||Civils and P-way|
The value of the BWR input in terms of volunteer labour and existing materials is £122,000.
We have already secured £70,700 from GWR’s Customer and Community Improvement Fund, which is being matched by Cornwall Council. Total funding to date is £141,400. We hope this will be more but at present the shortfall is £128,000. This is the amount we are looking to raise. We are in discussions with national bodies, such as Network Rail, for their support towards this as well as Cornwall based bodies for additional funding.
However successful we are in gaining further funding, Donations are going to form a significant part of closing the shortfall, which is where your help is important to us to complete this project on time.
How can I help?
Support our fundraising appeal and make a positive contribution to achieving our success.
We will shortly be launching our fund raising appeal through the Bodmin & Wenford Railway Trust to attract enthusiasts, visitors, friends of railways in general and the public at large, especially visitors to Cornwall and our Railway.
Please check back here for details.