£50 million boost to transform public transport in Cornwall

Cornwall passengers will experience hourly coast-to-coast train services between Newquay, St Austell, Truro and Falmouth

  • £50 million government funding accelerates plans to transform transport links in Cornwall
  • thousands will benefit from modern, more frequent rail services connecting Cornish communities
  • Transport Secretary discusses progress on mid-Cornwall Metro Scheme during visit to Newquay Station this week

Public transport links in Cornwall will be transformed thanks to £50 million of government investment to deliver the mid-Cornwall Metro Scheme.  

In a visit to Newquay Station on 27 March 2024, Transport Secretary Mark Harper met with local leaders including St Austell and Newquay MP Steve Double to discuss progress on the major improvement project that will better connect residents to employment, business and education opportunities. 

Initial benefits of the scheme will be delivered as early as May next year and – once complete in full by the end of 2025 – it will offer a new hourly coast-to-coast train service between Cornwall’s largest urban areas: Newquay, St Austell, Truro and Falmouth.   

It will bring vital infrastructure enhancements along the Newquay rail line including a second platform at Newquay station and an additional ‘passing loop’ on the tracks to increase capacity and allow extra services to run.  

Passengers travelling along the rail route will also benefit from modern, more convenient digital ticketing, allowing them to simply ‘tap-in’ and ‘tap-out’, knowing they will always pay the best fare without needing to plan ahead or search for the right ticket. 

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, said:

"It’s very encouraging to see the momentum building behind the mid-Cornwall Metro Scheme, an important project that’s part of our plan to improve local transport in Cornwall. 

"Thanks to this government’s investment, passengers in Cornwall will experience a more frequent rail service that’s fit for the future."

The scheme will also encourage walking and cycling by delivering active travel improvements in and around stations including new cycle parking, bike hire options, widened footpaths and better crossing points. 

Delivered in partnership between Cornwall Council, Great Western Railway (GWR) and Network Rail, the scheme will double the number of rail services between Newquay and Par, adding an extra 700,000 seats per year for passengers along the route. 

Other improvements will include level crossing upgrades and signalling improvements to make rail services more reliable.  

GWR Business Assurance Director, Joe Graham, said:

"The improvement to Newquay that the mid-Cornwall Metro will bring will really enhance services, better connecting people with jobs, students with education services, and leisure opportunities for all – providing valuable support for the community and local economies.

"We continue to work with our industry partners to ensure we can deliver on these improvements in the future."

Network Rail’s Western Route Director, Marcus Jones, said: 

"Our recently completed track and signalling upgrade in Devon and Cornwall has unlocked the door to the development of the mid-Cornwall Metro, which will help more people than ever before travel by train.

"Not only will the scheme provide coast-to-coast travel with an hourly direct train service connecting Newquay, Par, St Austell, Truro, Penryn and Falmouth, it will also improve safety and accessibility. Enabling easier travel by train will also help to cut congestion on our roads, reducing carbon emissions.

"We’re really looking forward to starting work later this year to deliver this exciting project with our partners at Cornwall Council and GWR."

Councillor Richard Williams-Pears, Cabinet Portfolio holder for Transport, said:

"The mid-Cornwall Metro underlines our commitment to provide 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 and the government recognise the importance of this initiative to enable a levelling up of the local economy and future sustainable growth and investment in mid-Cornwall."

From: Department for Transport and The Rt Hon Mark Harper MP