Steam railway to host special gala weekend to celebrate 50 years

Lappa Valley to host special gala weekend to celebrate 50 years <i>(Image: Lappa Valley)</i>
Lappa Valley to host special gala weekend to celebrate 50 years (Image: Lappa Valley)

Lappa Valley in Cornwall is set to hold an extra-special gala weekend to celebrate 50 years.

The famed steam railway site near St Newlyn East was opened by Eric Booth in June 1974.

Now it will dedicate June 14, 15 and 16 to its half-centenary.

Mr Booth had designed the now beloved Cornish attraction based on his love for trains.

He incorporated a 15-inch gauge railway set around part of the closed GWR Newquay to Chacewater Branchline, all nestled in the historical East Wheal Rose Mine's marshy mining works.

It now consists of three railways, thirteen steam, diesel, petrol and battery locomotives, spread across a 35-acre site.

Ben Harding, operations manager at Lappa Valley, said: "As one of Cornwall’s oldest and most loved tourist attractions, we’re really looking forward to celebrating 50 years of helping families creating memories.

"Lappa’s history is so interesting and diverse, we are looking forward to sharing memories from the last 50 years and beyond."

Falmouth Packet:
Falmouth Packet:

The gala will feature visiting steam locomotives working on the 7 ¼ inch gauge Lakeside Railway and miniature traction engines.

The main railway services will prominently feature the engine Zebedee, Lappa Valley's maiden locomotive, bracing for its first appearance post a three-year-long rebuild.

Mr Harding added: "We’ll be running double-headed trains, parallel running where two trains effectively race alongside each other on our double section of track; plus your chance to be a passenger on ‘The Cornishman’ non-stop service which travels straight through the station at East Wheal Rose once a day.

"It’s very rarely we see all of our available locomotives running at the same time, and with services such as these so this is going to be a really special occasion".

Falmouth Packet:
Falmouth Packet:

Visitors can expect to see a historical exhibition dedicated to Lappa Valley and a jam-packed memory lane, along with the latest guidebook reflecting on the railway's history and evolution.

The current owners of Lappa Valley, Keith and Sara Southwell, bought the attraction from the Booth family in 2014.

Keith Southwell said: "We have regular customers who have been visiting us over generations.

"Parents who came here as children are now bringing their little ones, and we love playing a part in helping families make memories together."

The event is open to all that hold standard admission tickets.

Tickets will be available at the ticket office each day and for those planning multiple visits, discounted weekend return rates are available.

More information is at Lappavalley.co.uk.