A potted history.
Coal was shipped in to Hayle Harbour from South Wales to fire the various plants of Harveys Foundry (from whence "Foundry" takes its name at the western end of Hayle centred around Foundry Square) and the Cornish Copper Company at the eastern end (hence that area being known as "Copperhouse") and was railed initially via the old Hayle Railway (1837 - 1852) to the foundries.
Going back to this image : post-7289-0-69207000-1336679095.jpg the course of the Hayle Railway is marked by King George V Memorial Walk which uses its trackbed. The Hayle Railway then bifurcated around two sides of what is now the swimming pool with one spur leading to North Quay (Hayle Wharf as the railways knew it) and the other towards the town.
The Hayle Railway "main line" crossed a sluice as it came past the swimming pool from east to south and the abutments of the bridge remain visible some 160 years after closure. The actual layout on the Quay is uncertain but modern sources suggest it was not dissimilar to that later used by the West Cornwall Railway / GWR / BR.
The original line did not use the black swing bridge but another one slightly to the west and depositing the line on the river bank close to what is now the new Philps Bakery on East Quay. It then ran beside the road through the now-raised grassy area with a terminus facing south just short of where the current viaduct crosses Foundry Square. That building was demolished in 1948 after many years of intermittent use as a meeting hall. Rails continued around in U-turn again parallel with the exiting road and to the north of it before entering Harvey's foundry site and dividing into a number of sidings. The Hayle Railway route therefore passed beneath the existing Hayle Viaduct twice just as the old A30 road still does.
The Hayle Railway became a victim of the growth of a national network and was ultimately replaced by the West Cornwall Railway's Angarrack deviation. Hayle (WCR) station opened on its present site and the line across the viaduct with it in 1852. The spur from the viaduct down behind Penpol Terrace to the level crossing and the black swing bridge date from around this time as does the direct line into the Wharf area (the south - north chord past the pool) which was not a part of the Hayle Railway.
After many years of dereliction and empty promises the entire area is finally being redeveloped. Harveys Foundry site is about to open as an ASDA store and a few houses have stood alongside the old A30 there for a number of years. The remaining foundry structures, long derelict in the main and ravaged by fire in recent years, are also to be conserved. The Wharf (North Quay) area is also being redeveloped as a part of which an all-new road bridge has replaced the swing bridge slightly to the east. The new one provides a two-lane road which will better serve the new developments; the swing bridge only ever offered a single lane roadway which was shared with pedestrians, though most of them later used the railway side of the bridge after closure to trains and until it too was fenced off forcing them back into the roadway.
The rails on the quay, of which I have photos dating from the 1990s, are gone or - if not - are about to go as new roads are built and the proposed developments to return the area to a working harbour / boat marina finally come about. My photos are near-duplicates of those already posted so don't need to be added here as they show nothing different.
Edited by Gwiwer, 19 April 2014 - 02:32 .