Council gives green light to railway upgrades in Cornwall

Cornwall Council has given the green light to another scheme in the Government’s Restoring Your Railway programme.

Mid Cornwall Metro involves the upgrading of railways so that direct trains can run every hour between Newquay, Truro and Falmouth, alongside intercity services to Newquay. In the longer term, there are plans to increase frequencies still further on the Newquay and Falmouth branches.

The budget of £56.8 million will pay for a number of improvements including the lengthening of platforms at two stations in Falmouth, new signalling on the Newquay line, the restoration of a second platform at Newquay, a new passing loop at Tregoss Moor to further improve the capacity of the Newquay branch, and other improvements at stations, including a bus interchange at Newquay and further upgrades to the stations at Newquay, Roche, Bugle and Penryn. A new accessible footbridge with lifts will also be built at Par, which is the junction for the Newquay line.

The Government has contributed almost £50 million, and the remainder will come from Cornwall Council and other funders.

The announcement of funding was made in January, but the Council wanted to consider and investigate the financial risks before accepting the grant.

Councillors voted to proceed with the scheme at a Cabinet meeting yesterday.

Portfolio holder for transport Cllr Richard Williams-Pears said: ‘We are committed to providing a thriving and sustainable Cornwall, fit for the modern world, for the benefit of our residents.

‘This initiative is absolutely key to delivering rail and active travel improvements across Cornwall both now and in the future, to enhance the lives of our residents by revolutionising how we can navigate across the Duchy.

‘The Council has already successfully bid for £50 million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, and we recognise the importance of this initiative to enable a levelling up of the local economy and future sustainable growth and investment in mid Cornwall. But we recognise too that in these straitened economic times, we have to be mindful that Cornwall Council is the accountable body for the project, and we need to keep a tight hold of the purse strings and a close eye on the project delivery.

‘As well as its green credentials and being a catalyst for economic growth and local regeneration around the stations, I see this as the beginning of a transport revolution for Cornwall with this being the Mid Cornwall section of the eventual Cornwall Metro.’

Network Rail has recently built a road bridge over the railway in Newquay, which will carry a link road to the new suburb of Nansleden. NR is hoping that some level crossings can be closed as a result, so that line speeds can be increased.

General work on the Mid Cornwall Metro is due to start in the coming year, and the scheme should be completed by 2026.

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