IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN TO EXTRA RAIL SERVICES ON FALMOUTH BRANCHLINE: The new passing loop under construction at Penryn

Tuesday 28 Apr 2009

IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN TO EXTRA RAIL SERVICES ON FALMOUTH BRANCHLINE

Region & Route:
Wales & Western: Western
| Wales & Western
The £7.8m scheme to boost the number of trains and seats for passengers on the Falmouth branch line - Maritime Line - is now completed, in advance of the new timetable on 18 May 2009.

Network Rail engineers and its contractors, Amey LG, have invested more than 70,000 manhours in the last six months to deliver the improvement work that will help double the rail services on the branch line.

From May onwards, peak services on the branch line will run every half an hour between Truro, Penryn and Falmouth, increasing the rail services from 13 to 29 a day.

The scheme is jointly funded by European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme, Cornwall Council and Network Rail. It forms a key part of Cornwall Council’s overall transport strategy to meet growing travel demands as Truro, Penryn and Falmouth continue to develop.

Mike Gallop, route enhancement manager for Network Rail said: “Now that our work is completed, we are eagerly looking forward to the day when the new services start. I wish to thank our engineers and contractors for working tirelessly over the last six months to finish the scheme way before the new services start. And I also wish to thank the community and passengers for their patience when we carried out the work. Their co-operation and support made it all possible.”

Carleen Kelemen, director of the Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “This was the first ERDF Convergence investment to be announced in England. It will prove invaluable to the aim of strengthening the economy by greatly improving the links between three of our major business and academic centres – Truro, Penryn and Falmouth.”

Nigel Blackler, head of transportation at Cornwall Council said: “This project was a long-term aspiration of Cornwall’s local transport plan and after years of development we are delighted that the new infrastructure has been completed. The doubling of frequency which these improvements allow, will offer a practical and sustainable option for travel between Falmouth and Truro and beyond.”

Richard Burningham, manager of the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, which works to promote the Maritime Line,said “It is great to see the transformation of Penryn station and to be so close now to the start of the half hourly service on 18 May. Local people are already taking to the trains in big numbers with an 11% rise in the first three months of this year alone. I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet!"

A 400 metre-long track was built to create a passing loop adjacent to Penryn Station to enable two-way movement of trains, which is vital to delivering the extra services. Work was also carried out to modernise the signalling system to improve the reliability of the rail services.

In addition, Network Rail had also extended the platform at Penryn station to cope with additional passengers that the new services will bring. The station’s amenities were also improved to provide a new bus stop and new car parking for passengers.

The railway line between Truro and Falmouth is approximately 12 miles long with a running time of slightly more than 20 minutes. However the interval between each service varies and passengers sometimes have to wait up to two hours for the next train to arrive. The irregularity in services and inconsistency in departure time will be standardised when the time-table changes in May.

Notes to editors

The branch line was opened by the Cornwall Railway on 24 August 1863 and there was originally a passing loop at Penryn when the line was built. The passing loop was removed in 1971. Nearly 330, 000 passengers have travelled between Truro and Falmouth as at 2007/2008. In the last five years, passenger numbers at the Docks station have increased by 136% while those at the Town station have increased by 14% and at Penmere have increased by 17%. A series of free public exhibitions will be held between 11 – 16 May for general public who are keen to find out more about the scheme and its benefits. Visitors will get a chance to explore a working model of Penryn station and understand from its demonstration how train services will improve with the passing loop. The events are organised by the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, please contact Richard Burningham - r.burningham@plymouth.ac.uk for more information. These exhibitions will be held from noon to 1900 at the following locations - • 11 – 13 May 2009, Truro station at Platform 3 • 14 May, Penryn Town Hall • 15 – 16 May, Falmouth Arts Centre, Church Street

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