Falmouth – Swanpool Beach
Prepared By John Perkin
Pictures courtesy John Ferrier and Dave Wilshaw
Swanpool Beach from the South
“Colourful Falmouth” by J.A.Brooks 1970
Extact from 1966 Falmouth Guide:-
” From Gyllingvase you can go by road, or by the cliff footpath to Swanpool Beach – so named because a large freshwater pool near the beach has for centuries been a haunt of swans. Pleasure boats can be hired on this expanse of safe water and provide ideal entertainment for youngsters. Beside the pool a crazy golf course challenges the skill of players while the very young will enjoy the miniature railway nearby. This beach again has a large car park and a cafe and shop, as well as beach chalets. The beach lies sheltered between rising cliffson both sides. It is served by bus from Falmouth”
The adjacent photos and map together with the quote are from a travel book and guides researched and collected by John Ferrier. This has enabled us for the first time to include a picture of the actual railway in use.
The Miniature Railway in Action
(Falmouth Guide Book 1975)
This miniature electric railway at Swan Beach was a children’s amusement and pleasure layout using 10.25 inch gauge track. The location of the track is now a car park.
The owner of the railway was the famous local author Mr. L. Fisher Barham who also owned a cycle, toy and model shop in High Street, Falmouth.
The railway was run by Mr. Barham’s assistant and mechanic, Mr. Harry Baker. At the time Mr. Barham was Hon. Sec. of Falmouth MRC.
From Mr. Eade’s memory the layout was a rectangle or square with one siding having a covered shed to store the train overnight.
The train was probably manufactured by Lines Brothers (Triang) and consisted of an electric driving car collecting voltage from the track and hauling three or four passenger bogie vehicles.
Mr Eade remembers seeing a section of track was brought to the Falmouth Model Railway Club one evening to be mended or modified. It had wooden sleepers and hollow “sheradised” steel rails.
The constant hammering of laden vehicles on the nose of the crossing of the turnout resulted in it having to be remade from solid steel for the second season.
He seems to remember that the club were invited to private preview before the first season.
Both Mr. Barham and Mr. Baker are now deceased but Mr. Eade will make further enquiries at the Club which is still thriving after over 50 years, with two members who were in nearly at the start.
Mr. L. Fisher Barham set up his own publishing company” Glasney Press” and in 1972 published “Cornwall’s Electric Tramcars” covering the Camborne & Redruth tramway. This book has become the standard reference to this tramway.
The electric locomotive collected the current from the rails so it and the coaches must have been fitted with either insulated wheels or axles.
It was named “SWAN POOL” and was of diesel outline and numbered “D65”.
The locomotive pulled three open “Pullman” cars and the complete train was called “THE SEASIDE SPECIAL”.
Total passenger load was around eight children including two on the locomotive.