Helston Railway is becoming closer to achieving its dream of linking to the town with a train service – albeit one just for fun at this stage.

While ambitions of one day connecting to the mainline are still a long way in the future, linking the heritage railway attraction to Helston is much more realistic now.

The group of enthusiasts now have verbal support from all the owners of land that carries the track between their base at Prospidnick and Water-ma-Trout.

While some of the the paperwork is still being finalised, it means there is a strong likelihood that visitors will one day, in the not so very distant future, be able to catch the train at a new station to be built at Water-ma-Trout and ride the line all the way to Prospidnick Halt, before returning again.

Steve Curtis, a guard at the railway and one of the group's directors, said: "We've had the Cober Viaduct surveyed and we have been told it's in just as good condition as it was when it was built 160 years ago.

"We're looking forward to getting out there at some point."

Colin Savage, Marcus Laugher and Sarah Norris onboard the steam locomotive Peckett 2000

Colin Savage, Marcus Laugher and Sarah Norris onboard the steam locomotive Peckett 2000

Before that can happen, however, a huge amount of undergrowth has to be cut back and the track bed cleared – and the group is always looking for new volunteers to help with the work.

The plan is also to create a dedicated entrance for those arriving at the railway at Prospidnick.

In the meantime the heritage railway, which began at Trevarno in 2005 and is now based at Prospidnick, has one again begun operating trains for visitors, running steam services on Thursdays and Sundays each week.

Steam locomotive Peckett 2000 is currently hauling a single carriage and it is planned that a second carriage will be added later in the year, with the aim to also operate diesel hauled trains at some point this year.

Finn Holwell, Steve Curtis and Steve Ivill are there to welcome guests

Finn Holwell, Steve Curtis and Steve Ivill are there to welcome guests

Trains depart from Prospidnick Halt at 10.30am, 11.30am, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm, with morning services being generally busier than afternoon trips.

Visitors can just turn up as the railway doesn’t take bookings, but tickets must be purchased from the shop which is adjacent to the car park.

Helston Railways tickets are the traditional cardboard Edmonson tickets and visitors can look forward to the guard punching a hole to say that they have travelled.

Visitors are advised to give at least 15 minutes to purchase tickets and make their way over to the train.

The locomotive pushes the train on its outward journey, as the railway does not have a facility to turn yet, meaning it is then at the front of the train for the return journey.

Currently the track is just over a mile in length, with the whole journey taking approximately 40 minutes.

Marcus Laugher helps drive the trains

Marcus Laugher helps drive the trains

The end of the line is currently Turthall Halt, which is manned by a station master who greets the train. It is the only station from the original line, which closed to the public in 1962 but was lovingly rebuilt as a replica of the original and features a pagoda shelter – an exact copy of the structures that were once a common sight on the Great Western Railway.

Passengers are invited to get off at Truthall Halt and have a look around as the train waits for around 20 minutes. Visitors can also enjoy the museum which is housed in the pagoda shelter and learn about the railway’s history and the ongoing work to restore it, as well as chat to the train crew. It is even possible to stand on the footplate and feel the heat of the fire.

Station dog Athena in her special GWR hat

Station dog Athena in her special GWR hat

Dogs are allowed on the trains, although the platform at Prospidnick can be difficult for some dogs. The railway has a number of ways to help dog owners who come to visit, and owners are encouraged to speak to a volunteer if they need support.

The railway even has its own resident dog, Athena, who can normally be found in the guard’s van or duty manager’s office at the end of the platform, in her special GWR hat.

Before or after their journey, visitors are able to visit the stationary buffet car, which is now adjacent to the shop next to the car park and serves cooked breakfasts, lunches, cream teas and afternoon teas.

The next big event at the railway will be its vintage vehicle event in September.

The group plans to clear land all the way to Water-ma-Trout in Helston

The group plans to clear land all the way to Water-ma-Trout in Helston