Network Rail will be working in the West Cornwall area this December to renew two sections of track on the main line between Truro and Penzance. Track renewals are an essential part of maintaining the railway to ensure trains are able to run more reliably.
To allow this work to take place, train services on the Cornish main line and some branch lines will be changed, with replacement buses operating.
What you need to know:
From Monday 13 to Thursday 16 December 2021:
buses will replace trains between Truro and Penzance for the full period
buses will also replace trains between St Erth and St Ives from Tuesday 14 to Thursday 16 December only
an amended, hourly train service will continue to run between Truro and Plymouth with only minor alterations further into Devon
replacement buses will depart at different times to normal trains, journey times will also increase
The railway in Cornwall will be fully open from this date, however, as this will be the first normal weekday since the timetable change on Sunday 12 December there may be minor alterations to trains. So please check carefully before travelling.
Our travel advice
check train times carefully – online journey planners are not currently showing the revised plans. They are due to be updated with the latest information from 5 November
allow plenty of time – journeys involving a replacement bus will take longer than normal
check where replacement buses depart from – they may not stop near the station at some locations. See below for more details
How trains will be affected
One train an hour will run between Plymouth and Truro during this period with additional services at peak times.
The table below gives a breakdown on the types of services that will be running:
One train every two hours
One train every two hours, with additional services at peak times
Two trains a day in each direction (one in the morning, and one in the late evening)
St Ives Bay line services
(St Erth to St Ives)
Trains will continue to run on Monday 13 December only. Buses will replace trains on this line from Tuesday 14 to Thursday 16 December
(Truro to Falmouth Docks)
Trains will continue to run but most services will run at different times to normal. Check carefully before travelling
Replacement buses will be timed to connect with trains at Truro.
Night Riviera Sleeper
During this period, the Night Riviera will continue to run between London Paddington and Truro.
Replacement buses will run between Truro and Penzance to connect with the sleeper in both directions.
The First Class lounges at Penzance and Truro will be open as normal. These are available to sleeper customers with cabin reservations.
Replacement coaches and buses
Our replacement services will provide a great alternative during the upgrades. Arrival and departure times will usually be timed to connect with train services, ensuring journey times are kept to a minimum.
Truro - St Erth - Penzance
Hourly (additional services at peak hours)
From Truro to: St Erth- 45 minutes
Penzance - 60 minutes
speaking to a member of staff at the station on the day of travel*
use the Help Point available at all of our stations on the day of travel*
*please allow additional time as an accessible taxi may not be available immediately. Booking in advance is the best way to ensure a smooth journey.
Frequently asked questions
Where is the work taking place?
Network Rail will be working at a number of sites within the affected area. The main upgrades are taking place between Truro and Redruth.
What work is being done?
Network Rail is carrying out track renewals and maintenance. This involves clearing away the old track before installing brand-new rail.
Which services are affected?
long-distance services between London Paddington and Penzance (including the Night Riviera Sleeper)
local services between Plymouth and Penzance, including the Falmouth and St Ives branch lines
CrossCountry services to/from Penzance
I’m travelling between London and Cornwall. Will I need to use a bus?
Over the weekend of 5/6 March, all journeys to/from stations west of St Austell will involve replacement buses.
From Monday 7 to Sunday 13 March, you will only need to use our replacement buses if you are travelling to/from Redruth, Camborne, Hayle, St Erth, Penzance and any station on the St Ives Bay Line.
What trains will run?
An hourly service will run on main line between Plymouth and St Austell/Truro. This will be made up of:
one long-distance train every two hours to/from London Paddington
one local train every two hours (with additional trains at peak times)
two CrossCountry trains each way will also run (one each in the morning and evening) on weekdays only. No services will run at weekends
Are trains between Truro and Falmouth affected?
Buses will replace trains over the weekend of 5/6 March.
From Monday 7 to Sunday 13 March there will be minor alterations to services between Truro and Falmouth Docks. We recommend checking carefully before travelling, especially when making a connection at Truro as you may need to travel earlier than normal.
Why are there fewer trains running on the mainline?
Due to the restricted space we have to terminate and move trains around at St Austell and Truro, we are only able to operate a limited service whilst the upgrades are taking place.
Will the First Class Lounges still be open at Truro and Penzance?
The lounges at Truro and Penzance will remain open for the use of sleeper customers with cabin reservations.
Where can I find timetable information?
Updated times are available to view when planning a journey at GWR.com.
When can I book Advance tickets or make a seat reservation?
Advance tickets are available to purchase now at GWR.com.
Are train tickets accepted on replacement buses?
Yes. The same ticket you purchase for the train, applies to replacement buses.
Still have questions?
If there is something you would like to ask us, get in touch with our team on social media. Search for ‘Great Western Railway’ on Facebook or Twitter.