An early start welcomes new services on the Newquay branch line

Monday 14th December 2020

Representatives from Great Western Railway (GWR), Cornwall Council and Network Rail braved a cold morning to give a warm welcome to the new December timetable today which sees four new early morning Newquay-Par services.

Cllr Geoff Brown, of Cornwall Council was joined by GWR Interim Managing Director Matthew Golton and Network Rail’s Industry Programme Director for the South West, Christian Irwin on board the new 0712 service which brought them into Par for 0801, where Steve Double, MP for St Austell and Newquay, was there to greet them.

With the new timetable increasing the number of services on the line from 12 to 16 per day, passengers from Newquay now have more choice on when they can travel and will be able to reach key destinations such as Plymouth and London up to three hours earlier than before. The new services also improve travel times for people living along the branch line, making travel to work, school and college in locations such as Newquay and Victoria Business Park much easier.

GWR Interim Managing Director Matthew Golton, and Network Rail's Christian Irwin, greet Cllr Geoff Brown and grandson Jago.

These changes mark the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the Newquay line. Ambitious proposals are being developed by GWR, Cornwall Council and Network Rail to transform the route including investment in track and signalling. If funded, these proposals will enable more frequent services and pave the way for the longer term Mid-Cornwall Metro vision, which recently secured funding for business case development from the Restoring your Railway Ideas Fund, and aims to link Newquay with St Austell, Truro and Falmouth.

Matthew Golton, Interim Managing Director for GWR said:

“We are proud to have worked alongside MPs, Cornwall Council, rail user groups, and Network Rail to bring more services to the people of Cornwall and, in particular, to those who live along the Newquay branch line. With development funding recently being awarded by the DfT to look at the wider Mid Cornwall Metro aspirations, this is an exciting time for the people of Cornwall.”

Steve Double, MP for St Austell and Newquay said:

“This new timetable is fantastic news for Newquay and will undoubtedly help residents connect for commuting to mainline stations in Cornwall and further afield.

“I have been in discussion with GWR and Network Rail for many months working to secure a better train service for Newquay and the villages on this branch line. This improved timetable is the first stage in a series of improvements for this route which will provide much better connections to and from Newquay.

“Along with the recently announced funding to progress the Mid-Cornwall Metro project, which will provide more services to and from Newquay, it is great to see this push to improve the rail connectivity for Newquay and stations along the branch line.”

Stephen Double MP welcomes the new service into Par. L-R: Cornwall Council's Tony Roche; Matthew Golton; Stephen Double; Driver John Jones.

Cllr Geoff Brown, Cabinet Member for Transport, Cornwall Council said
:

“This is a really exciting enhancement to the Newquay/Par branch line and for the first time in many years residents from Newquay will be able to commute to school or college in Plymouth, St Austell or Truro by rail and arrive by 9am. I am delighted that the great partnership working which has been established between GWR and Cornwall Council has led to yet another fantastic improvement in branch line services.

"Hopefully with the recent announcement of DfT funding to carry out further design work on the "Mid-Cornwall Metro" we may eventually see a coast to coast service linking four of Cornwall's largest urban areas through a single route."

Richard Burningham, Manager of the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership, said:

“This is great news and there’s more to come. Together with Network Rail, GWR and Cornwall Council are also looking at further improvements to the line and have just been awarded development funding by the Government from the “Restoring Your Railway” Fund to develop the Mid Cornwall Metro which would see through trains linking Newquay with Par, St Austell, Truro and Falmouth.”

Christian Irwin, Industry Programme Director for the South West at Network Rail, said:

“The additional services on the Atlantic Coast line to Newquay are going to be really beneficial for our local communities, businesses and tourists alike. The new services start the next phase of our commitment to unlocking further demand and improving train services across Cornwall by working with GWR, Cornwall Council and stakeholders. We are showing what can be achieved for passengers when we work closely together, and I look forward to building on this as the country starts to recover from the pandemic.”

GWR has issued the following guidance for those looking to travel this festive holiday period:
  • Book tickets in advance and remember and remember you must reserve a space before travelling. This helps us limit the number of people on these trains so it’s easier to socially distance. For reservable trains, we’ll automatically allocate you a space if one is available or ask you to try another service if not. Don’t worry, we always leave space on board for those with walk-up tickets, such as season tickets, or those who may have been disrupted.
  • Avoid busy trains: Travel as early as you are able to. Services on Friday evening, at weekends, or as we approach the 23 to 27 December Christmas bubble are expected to be in demand. Please be aware that rail services will shut down earlier on Christmas Eve.
  • Use your mobile: Purchase tickets online to reduce unnecessary contact. Tickets do, however, need to be shown during travel. To help railway staff, charge your phone and keep railcards together for ease of checking.
  • Do not take more luggage than you can carry: There is space for luggage on board, however you can reduce unnecessary contact with others by not needing help to carry it.
  • Hands. Face. Space. Hand sanitising equipment has been installed across the GWR network to help safe travel. Face coverings must be worn in the station and on the train unless you are exempt. Pay attention to station posters and floor markings and remember to reserve a seat to help maintain social distancing advice.
Notes to editors

Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.

We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR.com. GWR is a FirstGroup company.