The Bodmin Prairie

The farmlands of Cornwall are well known for the production of… Clotted Cream. And very bad for the health of tourists it is too 😉 Cornwall has much else to share – beautiful scenery, maritime heritage and mining, come to mind. But one thing Cornwall could not be claimed to be is a prairie so why the title?

A visit to the Bodmin and Wenford railway will answer that question – the 45xx Prairie tank working the passenger services in the dying days of the tourist season. So, why Prairie? In America steam locomotives of a 2-6-2 wheel arrangement were referred to as prairies in much the same way as 2-6-0’s were referred to as Mogul’s in Europe. The names stuck. So a 45xx of the old Great Western Railway is a Prairie Tank and much loved by GWR enthusiasts. 5552 on the Bodmin and Wenford Railway is a classic example of the type 🙂

Our day out at the Bodmin and Wenford Railway gave us the the chance to sample one of these engines in its home environment and the atmosphere was great. Please see the photos and enjoy…

Bodmin General

5552 stands in Bodmin General Station with a service to Boscarne Junction

5552 Runs Around Her Train

5552 Runs Around Her Train

The Crew

The Crew


Drifting Steam and 5552

Bodmin General

Bodmin General – The Age of Steam



  1. Nice post…great b/w shots.

  2. What wonderful photos, Martin. I’ll be sure to share this post with my husband. He is a railroad worker. He has been a Union Pacific switchman for almost 40 years, starting first with the Southern Pacific Railroad. He’d love to see these trains in action! 🙂

  3. Beautiful pieces, as always, sir!
    I swear I could stare at your train images all day long, Martin!

    • LoL – You’ll go cross-eyed Bob 😉 If you follow the links I gave Debra in the reply above you can see some more from Bodmin General and also the Strathspey Railway up in Whisky land 🙂

  4. The black and white photos are incredible, they seemingly come from another era altogether. The faces of the crew, I kept thinking you’d stepped back in time. Amazing post.

    • Thank you Judith 🙂 In a way I guess you could say that I had stepped back in time – everything is as it would have been in the late 1950’s. On a steam railway you can guarantee some atmoshpheric shots in the cold of a late October morning and the first train of the day duly obliged 🙂

  5. Glorious images Martin – you have caught the thrill of the atmosphere so beautifully! Hope you print off the B & W’s!

  6. Great atmosphere . . . especially in the last three images.

  7. Clotted Cream sounds gross. Clotted makes me think of off milk that has developed lumpy clotty bits in it. I really like the B&W photos. Especially the engine drivers & the man walking through the steam. Michelle & her Dad went through the Cornwall area & she said it is a beautiful place.

    • Lumpy clotty bits in milk that’s gone off is ‘Cottage Cheese’ . Clotted Cream is just very this cream with a consistency like very soft margarine. It’s usually served as part of a Cornish Cream Tea – Scones, Strawberry Jam and Clotted Cream with a pot of tea.

      Thanks for the kind comment on the photos Tony 🙂 The man walking through the steam is a classic steam railway shot that you can’t replicate on a normal railway today.

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