Trevarno Estate closure 'will not stop private railway'

Image caption,
Volunteers have spent seven years reinstating part of the Helston branch line at Trevarno - where the first chairman of the Helston Railway Company lived

The closure of country estate in Cornwall will not affect a private railway operating on it, volunteers have said.

Helston Railway has a mile of track that runs through Trevarno Estate near Helston.

The 750-acre estate closed to the public at the weekend after attempts to sell it failed.

But enthusiasts who run the railway have insisted it will continue to operate.

Until its closure, the £10m Trevarno Estate attracted about 80,000 visitors a year.

'Starting point'

The original Helston branch line, which connected the town to main line services to London, was closed in 1964 as part of cuts recommended by Dr Richard Beeching, the chairman of the British Railways Board.

The not-for-profit Helston preservation society has spent more than seven years reinstating part of the branch line from Trevarno to Truthall Bridge, which opened in December.

It had also created a station platform at Trevarno, hoping to attract some of its many visitors.

"When the estate was open we weren't actually running passenger services... now we've lost the foot fall from Trevarno, but we can offer them rides," society chairman Richard Barnes told BBC News.

He said the owners of the estate had not only given permission for work on the track to continue, but had been "actively supporting" the society.

The preservation society said Trevarno was the "most appropriate starting point" as it was the home of William Bickford Smith - the first chairman of the original Helston Railway.

"[But] we've got a positive attitude towards the railway and the closing of Trevarno is a bit of a blip, but I don't think it will cause us too much trouble and we'll proceed as far as we possibly can," Spike Laugher, the preservation company's general manager said.

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