West Cornwall Rail Improvement works

GWR Intercity 125
GWR Intercity 125

Network Rail will undertake track work in Penzance on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 December, affecting services between Penzance and St Erth. This will extend to include between Penzance and Truro, and the St Ives Bay line, from Monday 7 to Thursday 10 December.

GWR continues to operate over 90% of its pre-Covid train timetable, but to allow for train travellers to be able to socially distance with ease, the operator is asking those intending to do so to plan ahead and to check journey times before travelling.

Mark Chorley, GWR Regional Station Manager, West, said:  “We have been working hard to make sure that people can be confident to travel safely, and that includes running as many trains and carriages as we can to make extra room, and replacement buses where trains cannot operate, as well as enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures. 

“This work is important to ensure we can continue to maintain and improve reliability and we thank customers for their patience in advance.”

Where the mainline remains open, amended train services will operate through Cornwall towards Plymouth with roughly one train per hour in each direction.

Buses will replace trains from Penzance to St Erth (5/6 December) and from Penzance to Truro (7-10 December), with buses also running between St Erth and St Ives from 7 to 10 December. Services will still run on the Falmouth branch line but up to 10 minutes earlier than usual.

Long-distance services from London Paddington to Devon and most of Cornwall will continue to operate. Replacement buses will connect with trains, adding up to 50 minutes to journey times. Some train departure times will also be changed, and passengers are advised to check beforehand.

Lee Hildreth, Network Rail’s project manager, said: “We thank passengers in advance while we carry out these vital upgrades across Cornwall and remind them to check before they travel.

“The improvements will help provide passengers with more reliable journeys and represents further investment in the railway in Cornwall following recent signalling upgrades in the South West.”

GWR has been providing rail services throughout the pandemic and has worked to ensure that these are as safe as possible. This includes increased cleaning regimes and the use of a virucidal spray; extra staff at key stations to offer help and guidance; and processes in place to help customers maintain a safe distance where possible, such as restricting the number of reservations available.