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The Forest Railroad at Dobwalls.

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On 08/12/2020 at 07:20, Chris Turnbull said:

Here's some shots of Dobwalls I took when my wife and I visited on 25th June 1980.
















Chris Turnbull



Splendid pictures Chris.

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On 08/12/2020 at 07:03, robert17649 said:

We lived in Dobwalls for a few years whilst this  amazing place was open. The Thorburn collection was apparently the largest in the UK at least.

A big part of the problems was simply that during the season Dobwalls was frequently gridlocked or worse still bypassed by busy holiday traffic and people simply got through as fast as they could which was not fast, rarely stopping.

If this railway had been almost anywhere else it would very likely have survived.


Like many bits of Cornwall ignored by tourists and the tourist industry Dobwalls hid a fair amount of poverty and was a lot more isolated than it appeared externally. The irony is that more people stop at he village and pub now it has a bypass than did before. Strange as it may seem to those who view Cornwall as a source of second homes and holidays people actually live there on pay rates well below the national average and with highly seasonal employment  not being well able to afford to buy homes in their home county . They are dependent on council  and association rentals . until recently Dobwalls was a hive of such housing ( although we lived there in the 70's and 80's I have only been to the pub twice since we left over 30 years ago). It is still the place you go through or round on the way to somewhere else.


Needless to say, I'd never heard of Dobwalls and only went there because I'd heard there was a miniature railway there.  The first time I went I said to my wife "I don't suppose there's much there, so we won't be there long." 


They ended up throwing us out at closing time and we were the last to leave!

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Very happy memories of going to Dobwall in the early 80's just after we got married. What a set up it was, like a lot of people here we go to Cornwall at least a couple of times a year and so miss being able to take my grandson to see it. The wiki page on it is quite interesting and gives the whereabouts of the locomotives most of which are in Australia.


Wiki Linki

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  • 3 weeks later...

There was clearly a lot of interest in the Forest Railroad at Dobwalls, so the second part of the video I shot there in 1989 might also be of interest:



Further instalments will be published as time permits...

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10 minutes ago, stewartingram said:

Sadly, an attraction I never visited.

Is there a track plan available anywhere?



Not a plan as such but this might help:




Edit: found a better one:



Edited by St Enodoc
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The track plan looks a lot more complicated than it is. There were basically two loops, a 'Union Pacific' and a 'Rio Grande' with two trains running on each loop.


It certainly looked impressive and very busy.

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Disappointingly I never got the chance to visit Dobwalls. Before going to Australia the stock briefly operated at Plowmans garden centre in Dorset, later West Parley Miniature Railway (run, I understand, by a local model engineering group with their own stock following the departure of the Dobwalls stock). Dobwalls stock is seen in this video: 


Prior to all of this Plowmans had also had a separate railway that operated as part of their Christmas attractions, but according to this article it all closed a couple of years ago: https://www.railwaymagazine.co.uk/5558/plowmans-garden-centre-railways-close-in-dorset/


I seem to remember at the time there were also some issues with planning permission, since the new railway would be a tourist attraction, which were seemingly made more complicated by the presence of the Dobwalls collection as that was very obviously linked to a large tourist/visitor site. I’m not sure how the MES avoided these issues but I understand their operation was more low-key than what was planned for the ex-Dobwalls stock.


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The circuit in Dorset looks a bit tame compared with the twists and turns, not to mention the gradients, at Dobwalls.  Pity it didn't last long though - Dorset's somewhat nearer than Australia!

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17 hours ago, 45669 said:

The circuit in Dorset looks a bit tame compared with the twists and turns, not to mention the gradients, at Dobwalls.


It might have been more interesting if he’d got permission for landscaping. This article gives a bit more info: https://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/3877072.plowmans-in-a-pickle-over-trains/#comments-anchor


And, at the risk of going slightly off-topic, this is the Christmas line: 


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  • 4 weeks later...

Afternoon All,


If anyone would like to have a look, I've just put Part Three of my 1989 Forest Railroad video on my YouTube channel.  It has shots of the Union Pacific 4-8-2 QUEEN OF WYOMING and the Denver & Rio Grande 2-8-2 GENERAL PALMER.  There's also a ride round the D&RGWRR circuit behind the 2-8-2.


Hope you like it:



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On 12/02/2021 at 09:08, Re6/6 said:

Thank you so much for that. It's brought back so many fond memories of a marvellous place also sad ones that it's all gone.

It is a pity that it's no longer there.  It wouldn't be so bad if the locos were still active somewhere else in this country;  it's a bit of a long way to Australia!

Edited by 45669
Bad finger day!
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