Network Rail will be working in the West Cornwall area this March to renew track on the main line in the Truro area. Track renewals are an essential part of maintaining the railway to ensure trains are able to run more reliably. They will also use this time to undertake other essential maintenance as well as extend platforms on the St Ives Bay Line to allow longer trains to run.
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:
Over the weekend of 5/6 March
buses will replace trains between:
St Austell and Penzance
Truro and Falmouth Docks
St Erth and St Ives
An amended, hourly train service will continue to run between St Austell and Plymouth.
check train times carefully – online journey planners have been updated to show the revised plans but these are subject to further change at late-notice
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 St Austell/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, weekdays only (one in the morning, and one in the late evening). No services at weekends.
(Truro to Falmouth Docks)
When the line has reopened from Monday 7 March most trains 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
Note: Due to overnight engineering work between 24 January and 17 March, the Night Riviera doesn’t run on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
London Paddington to Penzance
Night of Friday 4/Saturday 5 March – The train will terminate at Plymouth
Night of Sunday 6/Monday 7 March and night of Friday 11/Saturday 12 March – The train will terminate at Truro
Penzance to London Paddington
Night of Sunday 6/Monday 7 March – The train will start from Plymouth
Night of Friday 11/Saturday 12 March and night of Sunday 13/Monday 14 March – The train will start from Truro
When the sleeper starts/terminates at Plymouth, train services connecting with the sleeper will run to/from St Austell, Par, Lostwithiel, Bodmin Parkway and Liskeard. Replacement buses will run between St Austell and Penzance to connect with these services.
When the sleeper starts/terminates at Truro, replacement buses will run between Truro and Penzance to connect with the sleeper.
The First Class lounges at Penzance and Truro will be open as normal. These are available to sleeper customers with cabin reservations. To ensure the continued safety of our customers and staff, capacity in both lounges will be limited.
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.
Weekend of 5/6 March
End-to-end journey time
St Austell – Truro – St Erth – Penzance
Hourly (additional services at peak hours)
1 hour 40 minutes
St Austell – Truro – Redruth – Camborne – Hayle – St Erth – Penzance
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.