Guy Vincent Many thanks Guy
Mineral extraction at Penlee dates back to the early 19th-century when copper, zinc and rare minerals were mined. Stone quarrying was started by James Runnalls of Penzance, at a quarry near the Old Battery in 1879.The operations were transferred to the current site at the turn of the 20th-century, becoming known as Gwavas Quarry. Penlee supplied mainly aggregate (crushed stone) but on occasion also supplied large chunks of stone as rock armour - "armourstone". The full-scale aggregate operations ran throughout most of the century reaching peak output in the 1960s and 1970s.
With production increasing a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge railway was opened around 1900. This connected the quarry with the south pier of Newlyn harbour, approximately ½ mile away to the east. A steam locomotive named Koppel was purchased to work this line. Internal combustion locomotives replaced steam from 1930 onwards. Stone was shipped from Newlyn to destinations around the Bristol Channel and the south coast and in later years to as far afield as Germany.
The railway was more or less straight apart from the curve on to the south pier at Newlyn. It was double track for most of the route although at some point in the past it had been singled, the double track being reinstated as production increased in the later years. In the 1960s when a ship was being loaded, six locomotives were needed for operations, four higher powered ones on the main line and two lower powered ones shunting the empty tipper wagons through the two loading points. The empty trains were reversed back to the loading points from the harbour.
In 1973, the railway ceased operations and was replaced by an electrical conveyor system using the same route. Operations at the quarry then slowed throughout the late 1970s and the 1980s, eventually coming to an end in 1989/90.
Present day An application has been submitted to develop the quarry area with a hotel.