Cornish Railway that uses coal from KAZAKHSTAN. Steam railway imported coal 3,100 miles from KAZAKHSTAN after a ban on British mining.

  • Bodmin and Wenford Railway were supplied by Ffos-y-Fran, a pit in Wales 
  • One of Britain’s last coal sources, the Pit Near Merthyr Tidfil, is closing down in just a few months
  • The railway is left with no choice but to find coal at 3,100 miles distant 










An historic steam railway was forced to purchase coal from over 3,000 miles away due to a ban on British mining.

Bodmin and Wenford Railway were supplied for four years by Ffosy-Fran. This opencast mine is less than 200 mi away from South Wales.

The pit near Merthyr Tydfil, one of the last sources of British coal, is to close in the coming months following the Government’s announcement that the fuel will be phased out from February next year.

The Cornish railway is left with no choice but to import lower-quality coal from Kazakhstan. After the Heritage Railway Association obtained special dispensation, the Heritage Railway Association was able to continue using imported supplies in spite of the lack of resources nearby. The same will be true for all other heritage railways. 

Bodmin and Wenford Railway had been supplied by Ffos-y-Fran, an opencast mine less than 200 miles away in South Wales, for the last four years

Bodmin and Wenford Railway were supplied for four years by Ffosy-Fran. This opencast mine is less than 200 mi away from South Wales.

Bodmin and Wenford Railway is a six-and-a half-mile long railway that runs between Bodmin Parkway and Boscarne. It can consume up to two tonnes of coal every day.

Spokesman Jimmy James said: ‘Coal from Kazakhstan is imported through the port of Immingham after a couple of thousand miles of travel across Europe. 

The road then takes it to Bodmin via more environmentally-unfriendly transport. It also significantly increases its cost.

‘The Bodmin and Wenford was once part of the Great Western Railway, which used high-quality, less polluting Welsh steam coal to power its locomotives. 

Most of our locos were built for Welsh use and ex-GWR.

‘We do not know how reliable the Kazakh source may prove to be, nor as yet how much we will have to raise our prices.’

Mr James said Ffos-y-Fran was primarily there to supply the steel works at Port Talbot and nearby Aberthaw power station, and supplies to steam railways was ‘just a small part of their business’.

He added: ‘The logic of the steel industry having to import coal from around the world, and not using home resources, appears to be lost on the green lobby.’ 

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