Posted 28th October 2020 | 3 Comments

Upgrade scheme unveiled for Cornish network

NETWORK RAIL has been awarded a tender by Cornwall Council for a scheme to upgrade the railway network in central Cornwall, which would mean improving the infrastructure on the Newquay branch and introducing through services between Newquay, St Austell, Truro and Falmouth under the title of Mid-Cornwall Metro.

The two bodies are now set to enter into a Development Services Agreement to work on the proposed scheme. It would be carried out during Control Period 6, which starts in 2024, and could be achieved alongside signalling upgrades. The Bid Notice says: ‘The greater Newquay area is seeing a growth in demand for new homes and a number of major developments, with the railway having the potential to be part of the transport solution. It can connect four of the major centres in Cornwall – Falmouth, Truro, St Austell and Newquay, and provide access to sustainable transport.’

The work will include design, survey and ground investigations, along with feasibility reports and cost estimates. Network Rail will appoint the subcontractors.

Reader Comments:

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  • david barry, wallasey

    another feast day for the consultant gannets. people are quite willing to give their informed comments freely.

  • david c smith, Bletchley

    The Exeter to Barnstaple line , at one time became an example of "railheading", cutting lines going on to Bideford and to Ilfracombe, and assuming buses and cars from these places would go to the railhead at Barnstaple and transfer to rail there. In reality this largely didn't happen , and the buses and cars just went all the way to Exeter , London, etc.

    Learning from this kind of experience, could it make sense to restore short sections such as these ? Bodmin Parkway to Wadebridge / Padstow , for example ( is there some obstacle between Wadebridge and Padstow ?).

    In these two examples, it is likely that a "hidden " benefit would be giving relief to overcrowded local roads during the summer holiday season. How many other stretches could bring more "hidden benefit " overall than "hidden costs"?

  • stuart nicholls, Pulborough

    Interesting idea, but can't see how Falmouth & Truro to Newquay would ever work, especially if you had to go via Par. Bus will always be quicker between Newquay & Truro
    If there's money available, reinstating the link between St Austell & Newquay might help, to avoid the slow Par detour. Reinstating platform 2 at Newquay & restoring a passing place or section of double track on the branch would help with a proper service frequency
    Also, better to spend money bringing Bodmin, Fowey & Wadebridge back onto the network than over polishing what we already have.
    ['Always' is a big word. The fastest buses between Newquay and Truro take an hour, and at the moment travelling by train takes about 1h25m, including 20min or so between trains at Par. But a through service would take just over an hour. There are various plans which already exist which would accelerate Par-Newquay train services, including the replacement of at least one level crossing (where there is a speed restriction) with a bridge. Part of the new plan is for axle counters rather than tokens, saving at least five or six minutes without the need to come to a stand at crossing places. Further easing of speed restrictions on favourable stretches is also possible. Incidentally, trains already win over buses on Newquay-St Austell journeys.--Ed.]