One of the most loved steam railways in the country is going up for sale.
Lappa Valley Steam Railway is a series of scaled down working steam trains situated in the heart of Cornwall. It has become a big favourite for families on holiday in the south-west region and with Christmas fast-approaching it is expecting an influx of visitors wanting to hop on a Santa Special service. The site has been run by the Booth family since Eric Booth founded the railway back in 1973 but now there is set to be a change.
The Telegraph reports that the old site is going up for sale after 40 years of ownership heralding the dawn of a new era at one of Cornwall's most-loved attractions. It is regarded as a prime asset and is expected to generate a lot of interest across the region and further afield. When people are asked about what they think about Lappa Valley the phrase keeps coming up that is like taking a step back into the fifties.
While the trains are a huge hit with youngsters and adults alike there is also an adventure playground, boating lake and a brick maze. That is not to mention the cafe, crazy golf course and a two-bedroom holiday flat above the ticket office, making it one of the most popular family attractions in Cornwall.
David Milne, the railway's general manager, told the news provider: "We always have a mad August, when everyone turns up, and when we earn one-third of our income for the whole year.
"But unlike some theme parks, where the children go off and do one thing, and the grown-ups do another, here all the families stick together. Just like in the old days. In my opinion, we are the best attraction for miles around. On a dry day, that is.”
Lappa Valley combines three railways into one with the East Wheal Rose Line, the Newlyn Branch Line and the Woodland Railway all intertwining on the site's scenic backdrop. The trains themselves are all given personas and are named Eric, the Duke of Cornwall, Zebedee, Muffin and Arthur. They are tasked with providing rides on the 10.25 inch track while some are specifically designed from the 7.25 inch line.
They are a mixture of steam and diesel models both of which are a big hit with all visitors. The site has also moved with the times by extending the routes and introducing trains that can cope with the daily services. Not only is Lappa Valley a popular attraction it is one of the few mainline franchises that actually turns a profit.
The site has seen an average of 54,000 visitors every year over the past decade with each person spending around £11 per head. With a low workforce of just five full-time members of staff, two part-timers and a further two people working in the cafe it means that it can generate increased revenue. The site makes a total annual income of around £550,000 which contributes to paying the £14,000 needed to rent the land. It will no doubt be a great find for any prospective buyer.