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Mike Truscott writes: Maritime line celebrates 150th year
1:00pm Monday 17th June 2013 in News
This week in Pendennis Point of View, Mike Truscott looks at the development of the vital transport link, the Maritime Line.
This year sees the 150th anniversary of one of the most important developments in the area's history. It has long since become an essential part of local life and, appropriately enough, has rarely been in better health.
I refer to the opening of the Truro-Falmouth branch railway line, no less, coincidentally completed at the same time as the first section of the London Underground.
The new Cornish rail link was immensely exciting and significant, marking the area's economic fightback after the devastating loss of the Packet service (after which this newspaper takes its name, of course) to Southampton.
Amazing as it might now seem, the Truro-Falmouth branch line was originally perceived as a main line route through from London, before Penzance won that battle.
For many years, the Falmouth terminus station had three long platforms, plenty of goods facilities and a striking overall roof - while Penzance boasted just one short platform and limited goods facilities.
Our line has had its fair share of drama, not least in 1899, when the up mail train came off the rails near Hill Head, Penryn, rolling down the steep bank and killing the engine driver.
In more recent times, the line's entire future has repeatedly been in doubt. The 1960s saw the infamous Beeching cuts, when Truro-Falmouth at least survived but lost all its goods facilities en route except for those of Falmouth Docks.
Then it was proposed for closure in all the options contained in the 1983 Serpell Report, which was eventually shelved.
Now, thanks chiefly to the Falmouth University “revolution,” it is one of Britain's most popular branch lines and, passenger-wise at least, has no doubt rarely been busier in its entire history.
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