Celebrating the history of Cornwall Railways on the Looe Valley Line

Monday 25th April 2016

The Looe Valley Line has been the setting for a project exploring Cornwall’s railway heritage through music, art, writing and film on Saturday 23 April.

Timed to coincide with World Book Night, the Loop the Loop project, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Cornwall Libraries, ran a series of pop-up events at Liskeard station and along the Looe Valley Line which celebrated the heritage of Cornwall’s railways in a fun and creative way.

Local schoolchildren had already been researching the history of the line to produce heritage style posters and travelled the line on Friday 22 April in Victorian costume, free of charge, thanks to the generous support of Great Western Railway.

Events on the day included mural drawing with cartoonist from the Beano Nick Brennan; a sound performance by renowned composer Chris Reed; heritage film footage of the Looe Valley Line from the South West Film and Television Archive; pop-up library at Liskeard station; model railway and heritage exhibition on platform 3 at Liskeard station; free quick read books and much more.

Artist and film maker Joanna Mayes who is coordinating the project said:

“Libraries act as a hub for communities; a place to share artwork and ideas as well as being the protectors of local heritage information. I am hoping the event will not only encourage local people to rediscover their library but also their local railway.”

The Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, which works to promote the Looe Valley Line, has helped organise the events at Liskeard station and on the line.  Rebecca Catterall from the Partnership said:

“The Looe Valley Line is one of the most scenic rail journeys in the country and with all of the events that happened on Saturday, there was lots going on to entertain all the family, while learning a bit more about the heritage of the line at the same time.”

Great Western Railway’s Mike Trotter, Station Manager for Looe Valley Line said:

“Our local Community Rail services are not only among the fastest growing but the most reliable in the country - showing the value of local rail services in the South West and how productive partnerships can really deliver results that benefit the local economy.

“We at GWR are delighted to be able to support this event – and are keen to continue to build on the heritage of this great railway as we seek to make further improvements.”

More information on the Loop the Loop project and full programme details can be found at www.loopcornwall.com.

The Rail Partnership has also organised the refurbishment of the main room on Platform 3 at Liskeard station used for Saturday’s events thanks to support from the Designated Community Rail Development Fund backed by the Department for Transport and ACoRP, the Association of Community Rail Partnerships.

The Partnership works to promote rural branch lines in two counties and is a non-profit partnership between local authorities, including Cornwall Council, Plymouth City Council, Plymouth University and the rail industry.