Click for Caradon Railways
A Quick History of
Liskeard and Caradon Railway
More Information Other Histories
Caradon Hill Railways LLUC
The Company South Caradon mine
Caradon Hill Rail Map East Caradon mine
By the time the LCR was opened tramways had been operating in Cornwall for  over twenty years. Whilst Other lines being built in the 1830's opted for steam power the Liskeard and Caradon was built for gravity and Horse drawn operation. An unusual choice for its time but one that resulted in a line that demonstrated careful surveying and skilful engineering to obtain a downhill gradient throughout its length.
1836 to 1917  
The Railway that enabled one of the largest industrial booms in Cornwall.
The Railway is built  
1836  Large copper deposits discovered at South Caradon Mine. Copper was transported down to the Looe and Union Canal basin at Moorswater 

1842 Survey for a railway line from the canal to the Caradon mines and quarries  

1843 Liskeard and Caradon Railway act  

1844 Construction started by November opened as far as Trembe   

1846 Line completed from Moorswater to South Caradon mine and through Gonomena incline to Cheesewring.  



The Lanes of South East Cornwall soon proved to be incapable of transporting the new traffic  down to Moorswater and so the railway was built.   
The Original directors: With their vested interests.    Its Construction   
  • £12,000 was its initial capital
  • Robert Cole of the canal company was its engineer.
  • Cheeswring quarry was where the work started and where the granite sets to hold the rails came from.
  • It ran on a downhill gradient along all its route down to moorswater with no tunne ls.
  • It was profitable from the start of its operations.
The Railway Expands and steam is introduced. 
1860 Liskeard and Cardon Railway act Liskeard and Looe railway opened  

1862 First locomotive used "Caradon" a 0-6-0 Saddletank  
Joint committee formed with Looe and LLUC 

1863 Copper traffic peaks 27,000 Tons carried . 

1877 Kimar Junction Railway opens, allows Gonomena Incline to be by passed. 

1878 Liskeard and Looe canal railway is leased to LCR  

1878 Liskeard and Looe canal railway is leased to LCR  

1882 Trewint line act   

The line was originally gravity and Horse powered .  
Wagons ran downhill in the afternoon, each controlled by a brakeman and horses pulled them  
back the following morning.  

A link to nowhere?  
The Trewint line act was part of a grand plan to extend the line Northwards across Bodmin Moor towards Launceston and the LSWR. It was based on optimistic idea that the railway would generate its own traffic as opened up access to the barren moorland.  
Extended by Instalments  
The railway expanded over the years to serve the mines and quarries around Caradon Hill. Dates of opening each section are  

The Final days  
1884 Works starts in the Trewint line. 

1885 South Caradon Mine is abandoned  .  
1886 Receiver appointed for the Railway.  

1907 New working at Phoenix mine.   

1909 GWR commence working the line.  

1914 Phoenix mine is abandoned.  

1917 Liskeard and Caradon Railway closed   

1931  Line abandoned

Role in the First World war  
The line was requisitioned in great war and temporary closed  to assist war effort in January 1917 the track was lifted and sent to France  
 No public right away exists  on Caradon Hill . 
On many mine sites in Cornwall dangers may still exist, many hidden. 
This web site is published as a resource to those using the public right of way from Crows Nest to Minions.