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Lappa Valley celebrates 50 years with one of the biggest galas ever hosted

17 June 2024 | News

A valley on the outskirts of St Newlyn East echoed with the jubilant sounds of whistles and horns this weekend, as one of Cornwall’s most loved attractions celebrated a milestone birthday.

Over the weekend of the 14/15/16 June, Lappa Valley celebrated its 50th birthday with three days of festivities. This included a timetable of special services featuring the railways’ entire roster of working mainline locomotives, alongside visiting steam and traction engines.

“Zebedee”, Lappa Valley’s original engine was one of the main attractions of the weekend having returned from a three-year rebuild.

The Friday night saw a special celebration, with staff, friends, family and supporters of the attraction being invited for exclusive use of the park, food, drink and a fabulous fireworks display set around the iconic nineteenth century engine house.

On the Sunday morning, exactly 50 years ago to the minute the team recreated the first ever service with Zebedee pulling a full train, including the three original carriages along the mile-long track between Benny Halt and East Wheal Rose.

The grand finale on the Sunday afternoon was the 1605 from Benny Halt, featuring all six mainline locomotives and two carriage sets – the longest train in Lappa Valley history.

Keith Southwell, Lappa Valley’s owner said “It’s been an absolutely fantastic weekend. It was 50 years ago that Lappa Valley opened and wow, what an attraction it’s become.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone that came to celebrate with us, as well as those who have visited over the years and a huge thank you to every member of staff for everything they’ve done to make Lappa Valley the way it is.”

Ben Harding, Operations Manager said “I am extremely proud of the entire team for pulling off a memorable weekend of celebrations. A lot of hard work went into putting on something which delighted young and old alike.

“The grand finale saw hundreds of people cheering and clapping as the locomotives and drivers took their final bow. This was an emotional moment and we are grateful to all our visitors for showing how much Lappa Valley means to them.”

Photos from the weekend

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