The commissioners of the Board-of-trade held enquiry the Guildhall, Penzance, on Thursday 11th August 1898, into the two light railway schemes which have been before the public for some time, the Penzance, Newlyn, and St. Just light railway, and the St. Just, Land's-end, and Great-Western junction light railway.
The commissioners present were Mr. G. A. R. Fitzgerald and Colonel G. Boughey, with Mr. H. A. Steward, sec. Mr. C. M. Acworth, barrister-at-law (instructed by Mr. J. V. Thomas, Penzance) appeared for the promoters of the Penzance, Newlyn, and St. Just railway, and Mr. G. L. Bodilly, Penzance, represented the promoters of the Land's-end, St. Just, and Great-western railway. There was large array of legal gentlemen opposing or watching one scheme or the other. Mr. T. H. Cornish (town-clerk of Penzance) appeared on behalf the Borough of Penzance, in opposition to the Penzance, Newlyn, and St. Just railway; on behalf of the West Penwith rural district-council to oppose both schemes; for Mr. William Olds in opposition to both schemes; and for Mr C. Cornish in opposition to both schemes: for the Rev. Charles Cornish, trustee of the estate of Mr. William Cornish, tenant for life, in opposition to both schemes. Mr- W. H. Borlase, Penzance, represented the freeholders of all houses fronting the Esplanade, Penzance, and owners of the Queen's hotel, to oppose the Penzance, Newlyn, and St. Just light railway and for Mrs. Armstrong, Mr. T. Robins Bolitho. Mrs. Amps, and the Misses Jago. to oppose the Land's End railway.
Mr. Page appeared for the G.W.R. Mr. E. Boase opposed both schemes on behalf of the Western Union telegraph co, and opposed the Newlyn scheme for Paul Urban district-council. Mr. B. Cornish, for Mr. C. D. Le Grice, opposed the Newlyn railway. Mr. Huchenson, on behalf of Mr. F. Bolitho, opposed both schemes. Mr. T. B. Bolitho, M.P., was also present. Mr. Ambrose Taylor represented the Madron urban council to oppose the Newlyn scheme. Mr. W. Coode, clerk of the County-council, was present to oppose both schemes. It was agreed that -the Penzance, Newlyn, and St. Just railway should be referred to as The Newlyn scheme, and the other as the Lands-end scheme.

Mr. Acworth, in reply to the chairman, said he and Mr. Bodilly had agreed that the two schemes should not be competing schemes— that to say they did not propose to offer evidence one against the other. He did not at present propose to proceed with those portions of the line which would have been electric, along the road from Newlyn to Penzance, the Esplanade, coming up to a junction with the G.W.R.

Mr. Bodilly remarked that the Land's-end line went from Penzance to Sancreed, and there branches into two forks, one St. Just and the other to Land's-end. He had arranged with the promoters of the Newlyn line that he would not oppose their making their line if the commissioners would grant them their order because so far as that branch of the Land's-end scheme was concerned it would be a competing line: but if the commissioners decided not to grant them that line, then he Mr. Bodilly should ask to make that fork.
Mr. Acworth observed that Mr. Bodilly must prove his case with his own witnesses, and not on the assumption that his (Mr. Acworth's) witnesses were proving Mr. Bodillv's case.
It was decided to take the Newlyn scheme first.
Mr. Acworth. proceeding, said that the whole of the clauses which dealt not only with the construction of the line from Newlyn to the dock at Penzance, but the electric powers having been withdrawn, he assumed that that disposed of the opposition from the Cable company.
Mr. Boase; Not entirely.
Mr. Acworth said the origins of this line was the existence and working to a considerable extent of important deposits of China clay in the neighbourhood of St. Just, but they had been immensely handicapped against China districts like Fowey and St. Austell, the average cost per ton being something like 5s. The result of this was the formation the present company. The chairman was Mr. Armstrong, son one the large landowners here, and the owner of the estate traversed to large extent by the company. Things, however, were done without his knowledge which he did not approve of. and retired from the company, giving public notice it, and private notice his friends who were landowners concerned. Latterly things had put on what Mr. Armstrong considered a thoroughly satisfactory footing, and he was going to support the scheme, and was ready to go back to the directorate. For practical purposes the Company was in satisfactorily solvent hands, and would be able take this order and deal with it in a satisfactory manner, if the commissioners would grant it. " The railway is divided into two portions: The Penzance portion dropped for the present at any rate. The promoters had to face what they did not expect…a very strong opposition from the Penzance town council, and he thought he was entitled to say that the council had not treated them in the way which the act requires them to be treated. The council had not thought proper to meet them and so the loss was a small one on their side.
The expenses amounted £25.000 for a mile and a half so. The Great Western railway were not inclined to meet them on the subject of a junction, the result being that the company withdraws from the scheme as far as that portion is concerned, and so did away with a mile and half of land and expenditure of £25,000 capital. That left them with about £50,000 of estimated capital to make nine miles of rail. He was afraid that the estimate of £5,000 or £6,000 for a mile of land was pretty high, but he supposed the commissioners knew the line sufficiently well to know that a railway could not be made into cheap rate.
The promoters would show the commissioners the first place that there is a very large industry in the way of china-clay which would be shipped at Newlyn and so would not touch the Great Western railway at all.
There were the important industries of early broccoli and potato growing and was informed that land there quite as arable as land to the eastern side of the proposed line, and he would bring experienced witnesses to prove that. Then there was one very important mine still working near St. Just, that being Levant, which was just beyond Cape Cornwall, and he would call the manager of the mine, who would tell the commissioners that the transit of coal from Penzance to the mine amounted to 5,000 tons, and that if the railway scheme was successful he would ensure a great profit to the mine. The mine also sends over tons of material back to Penzance. St. Just has a population 7,000 people and he thought there were not many places in the British Isles which has such population six miles from the nearest railway. The proposed railway will have very great deal of heavy traffic, which is the backbone of all railway revenues. They had very enthusiastic support from St. Just.
The Urban district council of that town and the Parish council of Sancreed had both passed a unanimous vote of support. He should bring witnesses to prove that and thought he was entitled to say that no landowner opposes the scheme, so that he thought the opposition which Mr. T. H. Cornish spoke of was practically gone.
From that point downwards there was no question of landowning opposition and when they got to Buryas Bridge they entered a valley and went through land owned by Mr.C. D. Le Grico. He thought he could say that Mr. Le Grice was not favourable, in fact was hostile, to the scheme, but at the same time he had taken very public spirited attitude in that respect Mr. J. B. Cornish pointed out that Mr. Le Grice had not withdrawn his opposition. Mr. Acworth agreed and added that there was to be some slight deviation if a certain clause was to be arrived at. Then there are the various road authorities, and as far as Penzance and Madron roads were concerned they were not of any further interest, having been dispensed with, pro tem.
The Urban district-council are responsible for the last piece of the road, about 300 yards in length, which comes down from Buryas Bridge. The only way in which the railway could be got down the valley was by coming into the road. They had met the authorities of Paul and he believed they would be prepared to agree to some understanding, and he thought the promoters would be able to meet them on that point. That brought them down to Newlyn harbour, where the authorities are all in their favour, and would do all they could to help the scheme. The railway would have continuous grade or one in forty right down, and certain large proportion of the heavy traffic would be taken down from St. Just. There were a good many antiquities on the proposed route, and one of them, Buryas Bridge, which frequently featured in the Royal academy, they did not intend interfering with.
Mr. Fitzgerald: Do you cross any roads?
Mr. Acworth said they cross roads under the control of the West Penwith rural district-council, and that that body had an objection to crossing one of their roads and asked for a gate to be put there but the company's engineer says that there would be no real difficulty at that point.
Mr. T. H. Cornish :We have not withdrawn our objection.
Mr. Acworth remarked that the Cornwall County - council had not given the promoters any notice of an objection of any kind to the scheme.
Mr. Coode clerk to the County council: But we do object.
Mr. Acworth: My solicitor says he has received a copy of the County council's highway-committee's report made to its own body.
Mr. Fitzgerald : Do you touch any common land ?
Mr. Acworth : I would not be sure that we do not touch anything which is called common. I am certain that we do not touch anything which legally is called common.
Chairman: We have received a communication from the Board-of-agriculture, and the Board says that the projected railway will pass through certain lands in the parishes of St. Just, Sancreed, and Madron which appear by the Ordnance maps to be common land.
Mr. Edmund Archibald Armstrong, barrister practising the Temple, son of Mrs. Armstrong, of Nancealverne, the tenant for life of Nancealverne, the Scobell estate, and trustee of the estate, numbering 3300 acres, said he was decidedly in favour of the Newlyn scheme. Both schemes affected his mother's property more than any other landowner present. He eventually became chairman of the promoters of the railway, but, being dissatisfied with some things done, he resigned his position, and ceased to be anything but a shareholder. Subsequently he believed the scheme to be in the hands of promoters who could carry it through (the company being wholly re-constructed,) and he was prepared to go back to the directorate again. Mr. Acworth interposed that the old directors had signed agreement, under which they were legally compellable to resign, if they had not formally resigned. Mr. Armstrong, continuing, said his estate included farms dotted all along the line, and especially at St. Just. At St. Just there was an increased demand for building land, as people in large numbers had gone there to take up residence there for the sea air. There was a large mining population, and this, as well as the development of the china clay industry, had been checked by the difficulties of carriage which this scheme would remedy. The line would also be valuable to farmers for the expeditious carriage of manure and agricultural produce. By Mr T. H. Cornish: At St. Just he acquiesced the statement that the whole of the money for the scheme had been found. That was not so, and was because he found he had been deceived in this that he had resigned. He believed in the future the financial arrangements would be satisfactory.
By the Chairman: He believed the arrangements connection with the company in future would be to his satisfaction. The china clay was sent largely to makers of paper, in London and other places.
By Mr. I. B. Cornish: When the railway scheme was started was started solely the interests the china clay works. But that was altered, and the company, as reconstructed, had nothing to do with the china-clay works, except as clients. He understood that the number of hands had been reduced in the Boswedden china-clay works but he believed that it was because of difficulties of transport
By Mr. Bodilly: He believed that a large amount of china clay was taken from the St. Austell district by rail. Mr. Walter Tait, managing director of the Railway development company, said his company would be responsible for all expenses in connection with the promotion of the company. This arrangement would take the matter out of the hands of the old promoters. If the order was granted the Railway development company would construct and work the line.
The Chairman asked Mr. Acworth whether, if the order was granted, he would apply to have the present name of the company struck out, and insert the Railway development company?
Mr. Acworth did not think it necessary. The Development company would have the preponderating interest in shares, but the existence of the local company will be maintained. The common thing was to incorporate the company by the commissioners' order.
The Chairman : That preferable course as a rule.
Mr. Acworth said the Commission were prepared to incorporate the company as Penzance. Newlyn, St. Just company, with the Railway development, the common form, to give them the capital they required, they were prepared to accept the order that way.
The Chairman: This question would commend itself to the commissioners, and would, so far as it is possible express an opinion present, be the proper way of dealing with the matter.
Mr. T. H. Cornish I suppose that does not place us worse position
Chairman : I think, practically, it places you better position.
By Mr. Boase: Of the capital £3,000 had been subscribed.
By Mr. Acworth : That was the first issue, and was for preliminary expenses.

Mr. Henry Thomas. C.C., Botrea, Sancreed. farming 120 acres, and steward to the Scobell estate and other property, said he had also managed a dairy company. He certainly said that a light railway was required in his division. The cost of carriage in the district was not less than 5s. a ton for feeding-stuffs. The railway rate from Plymouth 80 miles was 6s. 6d. If they could have a railway the early vegetable industry would be developed, and the fishery could be helped. The building stone for Penzance came from the West—the stone there being peculiarly adapted for building purposes and for road metal —and if the railway could be constructed it would give impetus to that industry. The Catchall dairy paid nearly £300 a year to the G.W.R. for carriage, and this and the branches would be greatly helped by a railway.
By Mr. T. H Cornish : He did not know that land had gone out of cultivation to an appreciable extent, being the moorlands. He thought the traffic between Botrea and St. Just would make that branch of the railway worth working.
Major Richard White, purser of Levant mine, and representing St. Just district on the County council, The population of the parish of St. Just is about 7,000, about 2,500 being in Church town. At a meeting of the inhabitant’s a resolution was passed in favour of the railway. If the railway came to St. Just would develop the place as a tourist resort and greatly benefit the people. St. Just was considered a very healthy place. He believed the railway would help the china clay industry also. All along the coast buildings were being put up and the stone from the cliffs was largely used for building, locally and elsewhere. Levant mine used over 4000 tons of coal a year, and timber and other material had to be carried by traction-engines. On trucks they sent from Levant 2000 tons of copper ore, tin, and arsenic. The cost of carriage by traction-engine was about 1s. 6d. per ton.
By Mr. T. H. Cornish: He did not think Levant would use the terminus at St. Just, but would continue to use the traction-engine. But there were six mines between Levant and St. Just Church-town, not working now, but they might work someday, and then the railway would be a benefit. He thought the general trade of St. Just was sufficient to make the railway pay.
By Mr. Hutchenson; What they wanted was communication with the sea.
By Mr. Bodilly: Then timber and coal was discharged in Penzance, and they could discharge at the Albert pier, Penzance, with the ship aground, at the same rate as at Newlyn.
Mr. Acworth thought Mr. Bodilly's question contrary to the arrangement they had arrived at not to cross-examine each other's witnesses.
Mr. Bodilly said his question arose out of Mr. Hutchenson's cross-examination.
The chairman : Major White wants communication with the harbour. As between Penzance and Newlyn harbours, I don't think we can discuss their merits.
Mr. John Holman, iron founder, St. Just, and one of the largest employers in St. lust, certainly thought the proposed railway would be a benefit to St. Just. He estimated that the consumption of coal for domestic purposes in the district was about 7000 tons a year, and for foundries and gas about 300 tons a year; for the china-clay works 500 tons, but he estimated an increase with the development of the works; and 200 for miscellaneous industries. He thought this a low estimate. As far as his industry was concerned they had imported 200 tons a year, and he thought there would be another 500 tons for timber, etc.: groceries, forage, etc., he estimated at over 5000 tons, and road metal 10.000 tons. The china clay was largely handicapped by carriage. The lowest price which had paid for carriage of clay from Leswidden works was 3s. 6d. per ton, and a mile-and-a-half further the cost was 4s. 6d. or 5s. Most of the clay was taken to Runcorn by ship. There were several china clay setts at St. Just which would pay to work the clay could be taken to the harbour from 1s. to 1s. 6d. a ton. The vegetable industry would be greatly helped by the railway. He estimated, that including Levant coal, 40,000 tons of stuff was taken to St. Just. Taking it at only 20,000 which now cost 5s. ton for carriage from Penzance, it was obvious what a saving there would be to the population if the cost was only 2s. 6d per ton.
In answer Mr Cornish, Mr. Holman said he thought it would pay to construct a railway from Just to Newlyn.
By Mr. Hutchenson: What they want is a direct access to the sea.
Mr J. B. Cornish pointed out that the coast around St. Just is not suitable for harbour purposes. In reply to question put by Chairman, Mr. Holman said Newlyn harbour was open to development, which, he understood, the harbour commissioners are willing to make.
Mr. Henry Olds, landowner and butcher, St. Just, and representing Capt. Frank Oats, a large shareholder in De Beers diamond mine, South Africa and a large property owner St. Just, a member of the District - council, and represents a third of the shares in Levant mine, next gave evidence. They do not keep account of the traction-engine and haulage at the mine, although he wished they did. Major White's was estimate.
Mr. Acworth : Can you give me some figures as to what it costs?
Mr. Olds: God only knows what it costs. I have just listened to Major White. This traction engine is breaking down every mouth on the road and we require half-a-dozen men, with all the local skill we have, to put that right for the time. He said distinctly that Major White's estimate was not an estimate. The traction engine may leave Penzance, but when it gets to Penzance he did not know. Sometimes it’s on the road for four or five days at stretch.
Mr. Acworth: I should have thought that it would have come down the hills rather too fast.
Mr. Olds: But don't.
Sir. Acworth: Do you think the new railway would be of use to you?
Mr olds: I do. We have depot in Penzance and no one knows about the management of our coals. How much coal is lost in to the stores I don't know; and there is half score of houses just behind these stores, and I cannot say whether Penzance people are more honest than other people.
Mr. Acworth: At present yon cart it into the store at Penzance and then you take it to St. Just by traction-engine as you can. Do you think it would be an advantage to put it Into a truck alongside the quay at Newlyn and run St. Just to a store, from where it could carted to Levant as you require?
Mr. Olds said it would mean saving of a shilling a ton and do away with cart traffic altogether, Newlyn harbour would serve the purpose to St. Just and they can do without Penzance. He had heard that the harbour dues at Penzance were cheaper than those at Newlyn. The railway to St. Just would mean saving to each one of the poor of St Just of £1 a year.
Mr. Hutchenson: Sea-borne coal is cheaper than land-borne coal. It would be cheaper if they had railway to Newlyn harbour from St. Just than one from St. Just to the railway-station.
In answer to Mr. T. H. Cornish, Mr. Olds said he has always looked after the interests Levant mine, and would do so more in the future than the past, Major White had said that Levant mine would not use the railway, but he could say that would mean hundreds and hundreds of pounds to the mine. They could have a coal store at Chywoone from which the poor could be supplied, the store being adequate for storing all the coal which comes to St. Just from Cardiff and Swansea. The coal could be brought from Newlyn and St. Just in trucks. They had done with the Penzance party and would send the stuff to Newlyn.
Mr. Cornish said what he wanted to get at was that in case the coal was brought from Newlyn to St Just they would be prepared to trust the Newlyn people better than Penzance.
By Mr. Acworth: A resolution was passed by the council assenting to the scheme and asking Mr. Bolitho, M.P., to do his best to support it. Mr. Edward L. Millett said as early as 1830 there was a project for a railway to St. Just, and King William IV. gave it his patronage. Subsequently there was a meeting held in Penzance in 1845 to call attention to the necessity of a railway to St Just. The St. Just people were of the same opinion now. He thought if the railway was made the agriculturists would have a better chance to get their produce to Penzance than they bad at the present time. He knew of more than one carrier to SL Just.
By Mr. Hutchenson: The St Just people wanted to get the heavy traffic to the sea, and the passenger traffic and light goods into Penzance. He was not concerned in the mineral traffic, but he had what was known in the west country as a " knackered bal."
Mr. Hutchinson: You must pardon my Ignorance, but I am not a west countryman, and don't know what a " knackered bal" is.
Mr. Millett: It is mine that has been closed down.
Mr. Hutchinson: I am very much obliged for your translation.
Mr. Henry Harvey Pezzack, secretary of the Newlyn pier and harbour, which had been in possession of the Public works board since March, 1897, said the Board appointed a committee of management. That committee met deputation from the promoters of this undertaking and they authorised him to attend the inquiry and state their views. The committee passed resolution that he should state that, acting for the Public works loan board, they were of the opinion that the scheme would benefit the trade of the harbour, and they therefore recommend the Loan board assent to the undertaking. and offer facilities for furthering the scheme of the promoters as the scheme concerns the harbour. The revenue of the harbour commenced 11 or 12 years ago. The first year was £1300, and then increased to £2200 for the year ending March, 1897. The next year increased by £600 £703, and this year the dues were let by auction for £2805. He could not say anything about the tonnage.
By Mr. Boase: They had power to increase facilities for trade.
By the Chairman: He could not say that the Loan board would grant facilities for trade, but if an increase of trade could be shown, no doubt they would give facilities, they had elsewhere. The principal alteration would be alteration of the harbour at the end. The probable extent of the alterations had not been entered into.
Mr. W. Coode, clerk of the County council, stated that the County council did not object to either of the schemes themselves, but they objected to the level crossings. He had had an interview with the engineer of this railway, and, from what he said, he thought the objection might be got over. There were two level crossings as far as this railway was concerned: one near Buryas bridge, and another near St. Just. He was informed by the engineer that the level crossing at St. Just could be avoided by making a deviation, which he the engineer thought would be desirable for other reasons than for the level crossing. If that was so, the crossing would be done away with, and he (Mr. Coode) had nothing to say about it.
Mr. Acworth, reply to the chairman, he said the position was this: Mr. Millett. through whose land the deviation would go, was prepared to let the railway do so.
The three Messrs. Cornish wished the railway to go out of their land in the deviation, and the promoters were prepared to do so and go into Mr. Millett's land, and make the crossing as Mr. Coode suggested.
Mr. T. H. Cornish, on behalf of the Cornishe’s, said they were quite satisfied with the tracing that had been submitted to them showing the proposed deviation. that deviation met with the approval of the commission, they would withdraw their opposition so far as that piece of the line was concerned. The lords of Lafrowda, for whom he acted, were also satisfied.
Mr. Acworth added the deviation would affect Mr. Armstrong, and he was prepared to consent. This matter was arranged accordingly.
Mr. Coode next dealt with the one at Buryas Bridge, and said he understood a bridge was to be made, which would rather improve the main road than otherwise. If the promoters would undertake to make that bridge, the County council's objection to the crossing would be done away with.
Mr. Acworth remarked that was not the business of the promoters to improve the County council roads, and if it was done he presumed the County council would contribute towards carrying out the work!
Mr. Coode: That is a question.
Mr. Acworth submitted that the promoters should not be asked to make a better gradient than there existed before.
Mr. Coode: We don't ask you to make a better gradient, but I think the effect of what you do will be to make a better gradient
Mr. Acworth: Well, don't you think the County council will make a contribution?
Mr. Coode: That is a question; but I am quite sure they would entertain it.
Mr. Acworth : But you are not prepared with arguments why you should not help?
The Chairman: I quite understand.
Mr. Coode I can't pledge the County council. Do you think the County council will entertain favourably the application of the promoters, if it were also the recommendation of the commissioners that they should consider whether they could not contribute towards the expenses?
Mr. Coode: Yes, I think they would.
Mr. Acworth said he was told that this alteration would cost a very substantial sum beyond what was contemplated.
The Chairman asked whether Mr. Acworth would pledge the promoters on this understanding?
Mr. Acworth: Don't you think it might be left to the commissioners to say what sum they should contribute? Because when the commissioners have gone back to London I am afraid of the County council.
Mr. Coode: I don't think you need be afraid of the County council. If you improve the road, I think you may be sure you will get some help.
Mr. Acworth accepted this; remarking that he was sure Mr. Coode would consider himself honourably bound.
Mr. T. B. Bolitho. M.P., interposing, said he was little interested in the neighbourhood, and be was not opposed to the scheme; but he wanted to have it clearly understood that if this line was made, and bridge was made over the road, a level crossing would not be reverted to.
Mr. Acworth dropped a remark that he did not think there was a large amount of traffic there; but there was a very large traffic indeed.
Mr. Acworth said had undertaken the County council to carry out the scheme just now suggested. Mr. Coode next dealt with the level crossings of the Land's End scheme, which were five in number. He mentioned those at the west of Marazion bridge; at the ropewalk; at Long bridge, Marazion; and at Ponsandane.
Mr. Bodilly said these were all abandoned. The next was at Chywoone, which being on the St. Just fork was conditionally abandoned, according to the arrangement made early in the sitting. If this spur of the railway should constructed, a bridge would be made at this point
Mr. Coode mentioned the crossing at Tremethick crosss, but Mr. Bodilly said the proposal there was to raise the road to 4 feet and 6 inches, and take it over the railway.
Mr Frederick Nicholas Oliver, manager of the china clay works on the Leswidden estate at Just, said the proposed railway passed near their works. The cost of carriage from the works Penzance, including store and re-carriage was 4s to 5s a ton. If the railway was made they would have to pay the mere carriage to the vessel, which would not be more than 3s a ton. Their competitors are the Sc. Austell china clay works, who have the advantage of having the railway close at hand. The retail traffic might go by rail, but the wholesale trade must go ship. They sometimes send a shipload across the Atlantic to America. There is any quantity of clay in the neighbourhood of St. Just, and, given proper facilities for haulage, the industry would a succeed. The quality of the china clay differs, some of it being used for the building of houses in Penzance, being unfit for other purpose. He thought the china clay industry would be means of retaining labour in the neighbourhood. He thought a large foreign going vessel could be freighted at Newlyn harbour.
By Mr. Hutchenson: The china clay is used for two purposes. That used for pottery goes by water, as does that which used in the manufacture paper. What they want is a means of access to the sea, Mr. Acworth then read a resolution passed unanimously by the Sennen parish council in favour of the Penzance, Newlyn, and St. Just light-railway. The inquiry adjourned at this point After the adjournment Mr. Acworth banded statement giving an account of the dues of Newlyn harbour from 1888 to 1897. The exports, not including fish, had increased in that period from £369 to £700 and the imports from £20 to £200.
Captain Strick, master of Newlyn harbour, detailed the extent of the existing accommodation. At equinoctial springtides the depth was 28 feet, ordinary spring-tides 25 feet, ordinary neap-tides 23 feet. They could always accommodate at high tide a vessel drawing 12 feet, at the wide portion, which was the same depth as at the Albert pier, Penzance.
By the chairman: The great improvement would be the widening of the pier. To make the harbour thoroughly efficient he would like to see the narrow part made 20 feet wide, working space, instead of nine feet, as at present. This would allow the railway to be taken along.
Dr. Nesbitt, member of St. Just district-council, and medical practitioner in the district, thought the railway would be a benefit to the whole district, especially to the poorer inhabitants: the coal which cost 10s 6d. a ton in Cardiff, costing £1 3s. 4d. when delivered to St Just.
The Chairman did not think it necessary to follow this line of evidence. In reply to the chairman Dr. Nesbitt said 13 omnibuses started from St. Just daily.
Mr. Hutchenson: They drop a good many passengers on the way?
Dr. Nesbitt : No, they pick-up !
Mr. Hutchenson: Do I gather that the busses start full from St. Just and pick up the whole of the way?
Dr. Nesbitt: I don't see how they could.
Mr. Hutchenson: I will leave that for you to solve, doctor.
Mr. John Russell, the engineer, said he was consulted about the scheme in March last. He carefully considered the point of the junction with the G.W. R., and could not get except by going round the town. The line was ordinary gauge, and all the works were light for Cornwall. The gradient was 1 in 40 rising 530 feet for 4 ½ miles, and then falling another 100 feet. The gradient was, with the bulk of the loading, he expected. The line would begin in Fore-street, St. Just then it would cross the summit, in the neighbourhood of the china clay works, reaching Sancreed by Leswidden. then falling down the valley. There would be a station near a district known as Grumbler, about two miles from St. Just. The next station would be a mile and a half further down near Sancreed. which would also serve Sennen and district. There was a short branch at the summit to the china clay works. At Grumbler station there would be branch rising in a south easterly direction, about two miles long, terminating at Tredinney. Proceeding from Grumbler station the line would go down the Tolcarne valley, with very light works, to Buryas bridge, where there would be a station. At this point Mr. Acworth said that a gentleman of the court was anxious for Mr. Russell to consider the question of providing a station at Drift Mr. Russell said Drift was within three-quarters of mile of Buryas-bridge by road, and the line was 200 feet below Drift, 100 yards off. At the same time, it could be done, if thought necessary, and he would consult with the Drift people. Mr. Russell, proceeding, said that at Buryas bridge some objection was raised by Mr. Le Grice, but he thought he could satisfy him. Passing through Stable Hobba the line reached Newlyn approaching the harbour through a narrow street. He met the Paul council, the owners of It, and was prepared to agree a clause which the road should widened to 30 feet where not so wide already. Instead of putting a passing-place in the roadway he put it over the stream on trestles. As to the harbour, expenditure of £10 per lineal foot would admit of the being widened to 30ft. or 40ft. The public road level-crossings on what might be called the main line had been reduced to three. He believed the precautions he had taken would render the line perfectly safe for the public.
Mr. Hutchenson: The outside length of the railway from St. Just to Newlyn harbour was 6 miles, 5 furlongs. 3 chains.
By Mr. T. H. Cornish : What he meant "cattle guards" in the plans was this: where the train crossed the road there would be a pit. across which the rail would he carried on skeleton boards. that whereas a tram could cross the pit but cattle could not.
Mr. Cornish: Our cattle would not think much of that if it is not deep. (Laughter.)
Mr. Russell, in reply to Mr. Cornish. said he did not think gates could be made. At the request of Mr. Cornish the commissioners made a note of the suggestion put gates the level crossings. This completed the case for this railway. The court noted a deviation to be made on Mr. Le Grice's property at Trereife. Mr. Boase. for the Cable company, asked to be assured that the clauses dealing with electric motor power were abandoned?, This was given.
The Land’s-End Scheme.
The commissioners next proceeded to the consideration of the St. Just, Land's-end, and G.W.R. junction railway. Mr. Bodilly, for the promoters of this railway, said that alter consideration they thought pity that the two schemes should appear opposition to each other; and, so far as the spur from Sancreed to St. Just was concerned, thought better to make the arrangement which mentioned at the beginning of the sitting. The line would start at a point just to the east of Marazion for goods, with a passenger station at Ponsandane. From there they would proceed round Penzance to Hea, which would the next station. Then would go to Sancreed, where there would be another station. Trending south-westerly direction the line would go to St. Buryan, and there would be a station there. Thence it would proceed to Sennen Churchtown, following the line of the country as much as possible. The great object of the promoters throughout this matter bad been to effect a junction with the Great-western railway.
Mr. Page, interposing, said briefly the view of the G.W.R. Co. was that if the commissioners were of opinion that the interests of St. Just and Land's-end district required that a line should be made having junction with the G.W. railway, the company would be willing for the junction to be made in the manner suggested by the plan handed in. If the order was granted the company would be willing to consider proposals for working the line favourable terms.
Mr. Bodilly, continuing, said that it was consequence of the junction being made with the G.W.R. that the estimate was so great. In consequence of the suggested arrangement with the G.W.R., shown on the plan, that bit of line from Marazion station to Marazion town would be abandoned. this line would be opened to the parishes of Sancreed, Buryan, and Sennen, and they would be brought into direct railway communication with Penzance and the G.W.R. line. In addition to the 13,000 people in Penzance, there were in St. Levan 629; Sancreed 867; St Buryan 1288; and Sennen 676 in addition to which he thought they would get over their portion of the line, from Sancreed to Penzance, a very fair share of the traffic from St Just. Assuming that both lines were made, any person was sending goods from St. Just to Penzance, he thought it fair to assume that having got to Sancreed they would send it by this railway from Sancreed to Penzance, instead of sending it to Newlyn. The line, including the St. Just spur, would be 13 miles 2 furlongs and 21 chains long, and the gauge the ordinary one of 4 feet 8 ½ inches, with 64 lb. rails, which would enable any coach or truck to be taken from any point on the G.W. R. to any point on the light railway without trans-shipping the goods. The engineering work entailed no difficulties at all. He had to contend with opposition of a serious nature on the pan of Mr. R. K. Bolitho but any scheme devised to make junction with the Great - western they were bound to meet him. Mr. Bolitho owned the greater part of the parish of Gulval, and was the most influential landowner that side of the town, and to get round the town at all they must go through his land. In consequence if the abandonment of the loop-lines they would not come within the view of Mr. Bolitbo's house at all, but they would cross his land at Trevarrack where they would have to make a tunnel—the only tunnelling they would have to make through the hill. The character of the country which they proposed to open to the West of Penzance was very largely agricultural, but among other matters which would have to receive careful consideration was the tourist traffic, the Land's-end district being the most frequented along the coast. St Buryan, St Levan, and Sennen were agricultural parishes, and only wanted cheaper means of communication to very much enlarge the early-potato and broccoli industries. The cost of carriage on everything from and to Sennen from the Great-western station at Penzance was from 8s. to 9s. per ton. The fishing industries of Sennen-cove. Penberth, and Porthgwarra would have consideration, as the carriages they had to pay were almost ruinous, ranging from 10s to 25s. per ton. and on the large quantities of osiers used at Sennen-cove for crab-pots, &c;, the carriage amounts to 7s. and 8s. per ton. St. Levan and St. Buryan also, the rates are so great as seriously cripple any industry in the parish.
Mr. Bodilly called the following evidence Mr. John R. Branwell, J.P., Penlee, Penzance, said he is a merchant. His mills at Gulval are as large as any in the county He knows the district through which the proposed railway is to pass and of opinion that such railway would be great acquisition for the parish, assisting, as it would do. the local industries. All the industries would benefit considerably by having access to a railway having a junction with the Great-western railway. At present they are considerably hampered by the charges for carriage. He is an owner of some of the land at Gulval through which part of the proposed railway would pass
Mr. Hutchenson: The tourist traffic is a considerable traffic but did not warrant outlay of £140.000 as much as the other industries referred to by Mr. Bodilly. The railway passes very near Pendrea house, owned by Mr. F. Bolitho.
Mr. Hutchenson: How near is it?
Mr. Branwell: I could not exactly say.
Mr. Hutchenson : Near enough to cause a nuisance by its noise?
Mr. Branwell: There several things in the town which cause a nuisance! the noise of the trains and boats and steamers' whistles.
Mr. Hutchenson: Or the noise of a flour mill.
Mr. Branwell : Since we have had the rolling system it has not been so noisy. Fish traffic is very considerable at certain seasons of the year, but the last season was not very large one.
By Mr. Borlase: He could not say how far he was going to support the scheme.
Mr. Borlase: Will you support it at all?
Mr. Branwell: It is very possible that I may.
Rev. J. Tonkin, St. Buryan, said he is the freeholder of two thirds of that village, and is owner of over 600 acres of land in the parish. The carriage of coal costs 6s. a ton; and Sennen and St. Levan, being much further, the charge is much higher. Such tariff considerably handicaps market-gardeners and others. He thought the making of the proposed railway would be lasting benefit to the parish. The district is a noted one for dairy purposes and in late years several dairies bad been erected.
By Mr. Hutchenson: He only had word from the promoters a few days ago about his giving evidence, although, of course, he had heard of the scheme previously. Brakes and carriages continually pass though St. Buryan in the season. It was not true that in winter busses come to the village without a single passenger.
By Mr. Borlase : The cost of travelling at present by busses is sixpence each way.


The Board-of-trade inquiry into the rival light railway schemes was resumed Friday morning the early hour of nine o'clock. The Chairman, addressing the Court, said: It does not appear to the commissioners necessary to trouble counsel any further. They have arrived at the following conclusions:
(1) The desirability of line connecting St. Just and the intervening district with the G.W.R. at Penzance is proved.
(2) The desirability of line between Sennen, or some other place of the vicinity of the Land’s-end and Penzance is also proved.
(3) A case has been made out for a line affording communication between St. Just and other portions of West Cornwall and Newlyn harbour. The schemes before the commissioners do not, in their opinion, satisfactorily meet the requirements of the districts for the following, among other reasons:

[a.) The mileage in question is not such as to justify two separate companies with separate capitals and separate administrations.

(b) The lines, as now presented, do not appear to be laid out so as to give the best possible service. They do not provide for a junction at Sancreed save by the construction of an additional line nearly half a mile length. In the opinion of the commissioners Sancreed a central junction for the direct transmission of traffic between the lines on the west, and both the Great-western railway and Newlyn on the east. Again there seems to no necessity for the two lines, one passing to the north and the other to the south, which form a loop round Sancreed;

(c ) The alignment of the proposed line Sennen is, probably, capable of improvement the interests of St. Buryan and St. Levan

(d) The alignment of the same line near the proposed junction with the G.W.R. may possibly require further consideration as respects interference with Mr. Bolitho's property, and also as respects the position of the road between Marazion and Penzance, which, according to the scheme, would have a railway each side of it; but are not possession of sufficient information to express any definite opinion on either of these points.

(5.) The commissioners are, therefore, unable to grant either of the applications before them. They have arrived at this decision with reluctance, as they are strongly impressed with the need of better railway facilities the district; but they feel satisfied that they are consulting the true interests of all the numerous and important industries concerned, as well as of the general public, by giving an opportunity for the promotion of a revised and matured scheme.
Mr. G. L. Bodilly: Would that give us opportunity of coming back if we revise our line? Our line provides for communication from the Land's-end to St. Just and the Great-western railway, and would that give us an opportunity of coming before you again?
Mr. Fitzgerald: Not on this application.
Mr. Hutchenson. on behalf of the Bar, expressed their thanks to the commissioners for hearing the statements on each side.
Mr W. H. Borlase supported. Mr. Bolitho did not oppose the scheme from any selfish point of view, but on the very same points as the commissioners had pointed out. The inquiry then closed.


Excellent addition HS. Such a shame that one particular, yet hugely influential land owner objected. The local economy would have been boosted and St Just would have become a very important industrial area even today.


Senior Member
Should have gone ahead, but Dr Beeching would have closed it. Thanks to HH for putting this on the site.
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