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Author Topic: A visit to Menheniot  (Read 3101 times)
grahame
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« on: March 14, 2020, 06:07:25 am »

In order to have some more recent pictures in my library, and to get a feel for using the trains in Cornwall, I took a midweek break this week just gone, stopping overnight in Penzance and visiting each of the pure Cornish branches.  A very pleasant couple of days and a chance to sample some of the lines - although I covered all of the lines, I saw little of the places and only got out to look around at a "random" selection of stations.

All the way from Plymouth to Penzance, trains now run fairly close to every half hour, with trains calling just hourly at a few of the smaller stations. Exceptionally, Menheniot has a much more restricted service - several morning and evening peak trains, a middle of the day train that calls on request in each direction, and a solitary mid evening service. That's a total of 11 calls per day. "Thin service" you may say, but it's a few more than it was a few years ago - and indeed there was concern at a downward trend and a fear of it being hard to recover from.

I recall 2 or 3 years back catching the early train from Hayle - destination Taunton - and calling at Menheniot where our already-full train picked up a significant number of pupils off to school near Devonport Station.  It was very different on Thursday when I got off the train at about half past one, having travelled up from Truro. The train manager seemed delighted to be stopping for me (we had quite a chat) and I was the solitary person do get off.  No-one got on.

Menheniot station isn't in Menheniot. It's in the hamlet of Lower Clicker - a few houses and a pub that was very much un-open, midweek, off season. Cars pulled up onto the pavement, with traffic passing in the lane having to wait to get past them, gave me the distinct impression that the people of Lower Clicker have turned their back on their rail service and now overburden their road. Hardly surprising given the sparsity of the service, and the excellent modern main road at the top of the lane.  But then the hamlet is so small that an hourly service might not see huge growth - and yet where did all those schoolkids come from?

Menheniot station has a car park (and there was a car parked there to prove it) and I suspect that it's in strong use as a kiss-and-ride for pupils headed for school in Plymouth, with Mum's taxi dropping off for the 08:12, and picking up at 16:30 or 17:30 covering a very wide rural area.  A classic example of a train service that works well for a particular flow, even if the station for general use is, to put it mildly, underused.  And that leaves me wondering "if it works for the school kids, why does it not work more generally?"

Good to see service very slightly increased - here are some old posts from when the service was even worse.

It won't be long until Menheniot along with Coombe Junction, will be scrapped.
If they were closing Menheniot then why would they be spending a load on a brand new footbridge? Although Menheniot only has 4 trains per day in each direction, they are pretty conveniently timed, there is a train to get the kids to Devonport college in time for 0900 and one back from Devonport around 1600, the Plymouth commuters are dealt with by the same up train and two evening peak trains from Plymouth at 1706 and 1816, so although 4 trains seems sparse, at least the 4 trains are of use to someone, unlike Melksham!

As for Coombe, I don't think anyone would shed a tear if it were to be closed!

And that begs the question "could more traffic develop".  I recall writing (not sure where!) about housing development - and looking at places that already have transport infrastructure in place. A paper exercise brought up Menheniot Station / Lower Clicker and - having been there on Thursday it did strike me as a possibility.  Bit hilly, mind.  It's also so attractively close to the main A38 that it could make a useful park and ride ... though I've not studied abstractions. 

Anyway, I took some pictures, and just less than an hour after I arrived, hailed the Penzance train to start my journey towards my next destination. 


Arrived in Menheniot, and my train leaves having stopped to drop just me off


Station Car Park - I speculate it's busy at "Kiss and Ride" times


Beyond the station, the railway crossed the valley on a high viaduct


The road towards Menheniot village, which is about a mile from the station


A map to put Menheniot station into local context - Lower Clicker and closeness to main road


On the westbound platform, looking towards Penzance


Roadside parking, Lower Clicker Style.  Looks like car has won over train and facilities are lacking


A modern footbridge - around 12 years old?


My train calls in to pick me up after my visit
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ellendune
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2020, 08:12:15 am »

Menheniot station isn't in Menheniot. It's in the hamlet of Lower Clicker - a few houses and a pub that was very much un-open, midweek, off season. Cars pulled up onto the pavement, with traffic passing in the lane having to wait to get past them, gave me the distinct impression that the people of Lower Clicker have turned their back on their rail service and now overburden their road. Hardly surprising given the sparsity of the service, and the excellent modern main road at the top of the lane.  But then the hamlet is so small that an hourly service might not see huge growth - and yet where did all those schoolkids come from?

Yes well there are two pubs in Lower Clicker, but you are hardly likely to get a train if you want to go to and buy a pint of milk and some bread! So I guess having a car is really the only practical option. And once you have it.....
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smokey
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2020, 12:05:01 pm »

Menheniot, been there many times over the years, had a pint or two in the Pub (Sportsman I think) and the Hayloft just on the junction with the main road A38, is a great place to eat.

I remember when there were 2 trains in the Mornings to Plymouth and 2 back in the evenings, and NO MORE!!  Shocked
A Day trip to Liskeard and places West meant going via St Germans out and back.

Re Picture 3 The Viaduct was the scene of an Accident (9th Feb 1897) that claimed 12 lives,

Re Picture 8  The Footbridge had it's first passenger trains going under it back in 1890!  Cheesy
However the Footbridge was at Beer Ferris on the LSWR (London South Western Railway) London Waterloo-Plymouth line, Now Bere Ferrers on the Gunnislake Branch, the bridge was moved and raised in height in the 1970's you can see the welding about 18 inches from the base and the three concrete steps at platform level

Re Picture 5, I've never noticed the HUGH PINK PIN before  Grin Grin Grin
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2020, 02:26:12 pm »

It once had a signalbox and fairly extensive track layout: https://www.s-r-s.org.uk/html/gwf/S1053.htm
« Last Edit: March 17, 2020, 04:49:45 pm by SandTEngineer » Logged
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