Posts Tagged ‘Looe’

The Looe Line

May 28, 2013

Looe is a small fishing harbour and town on the south coast of East Cornwall. It’s a pretty place with the Looe River running through it. Like many a Cornish seaside place, parking can be a problem, but Looe has an advantage. It has a branch railway still running. And a fascinating line it is too.

It starts at Liskeard which is also on the main railway from London to Penzance.

image002

There’s a lovely GWR signal box and the signal man when we were there was very chatty. There is even a super lower quadrant signal.

Now oddly, for Looe is south of Liskeard, the line starts at a terminus platform and the way out is northeast.

image004

image006

There’s the single carriage train arriving from Looe.

We boarded the train for it was going back to Looe. This is a remarkable bit of railway. Within a couple of miles we have gone hugely downhill, passing under the main line which strides across us on a lofty viaduct. To do this we have changed direction on a tight curve. We left Liskeard heading northeast but we are travelling southwest when we go under the viaduct.  We continue to work down and around. By the time we stop at the little station at Coombe we are heading almost due north. We have travelled over two miles but are only about half a mile from Liskeard station.

Near Coombe we have joined a much older railway – one originally built to carry mineral traffic from the Cornish hills to the harbour at Looe. That happened at Coombe Junction.

image008

But we, at Coombe station, are heading away from Looe which is down the right hand railway, whilst the line to Liskeard veers off to the left. Our driver must go to the cab at the other end of the train for the rest of the journey.

And there, in the distance, is unlikely Coombe Station. It is nowhere in particular, really.

image010

We now really begin our journey to Looe, travelling down the East Looe River – a pretty journey.

Looe is a great place for egrets – the incomer birds that seem to have now colonised our country.

image012

For our return, later in the day we took a riverside seat in the train. Trains, these days, are air conditioned. You can’t open windows so photography is harder. But here’s a typical view of the river.

image014

And so, back to Liskeard, with the same performance at Coombe, but in reverse, of course.

image016

It must be lucky that this odd little line survived. It is good to see that there are some steam specials on the line as well as the simple little diesel railcar. It’s a lovely trip whatever the train – a journey of less than 9 miles in total. We made the journey on September 27th 2012.

Advertisements