Monday 8 Feb 2021
Network Rail completes biggest track investment on St Ives Bay line in 60 years
The completion of Network Rail’s £3m track upgrade will help to provide a more reliable railway for passengers in Cornwall.
Over the past five weeks, Network Rail has completed its biggest track investment on the St Ives Bay line in Cornwall since the 1950s, renewing the track between Carbis Bay and St Ives.
The railway line reopens today (Monday 8 February) following the successful completion of work to lay around 1.5 miles of new track and install 3,600 new sleepers and over 400 tonnes of new ballast - which is the stones that supports the track.
Network Rail engineers worked day and night to complete the work and to minimise disruption to residents living near to the railway, electric & solar lighting was used which is completely silent, uses no diesel and produces no CO2 emissions.
Lee Hildreth, Network Rail project manager, said: “We are delighted to have completed our work on the St Ives bay line which marks the biggest track upgrade on this line for over 60 years.
“Despite a number of challenges, particularly the severe weather Cornwall has faced over the past month, it is really pleasing to have finished this important work which will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the local community by helping to provide a more reliable railway for passengers in Cornwall.
“We would like to thank the local community for their patience while we have completed this work and look forward to welcoming passengers back onboard.”
Mark Chorley, GWR Regional Station Manager, West, said: “We are pleased to resume train services on the St Ives Bay line today after a five-week period of upgrades. The work will help to keep our services on the branch line running reliably and provide a smoother ride for our customers.
“While Network Rail upgraded the line, we continued to keep our customers moving, but with a longer, road journey. We thank them for their patience during this time and look forward to welcoming them back on-board our trains.”
GWR is operating a reduced timetable during the latest national lockdown and customers should follow Government guidelines, only travelling for work if essential or for other legally permitted reasons. Find out more at gwr.com/safety.
The train operator has been providing rail services throughout the pandemic and has worked to ensure these are as safe as possible. This includes increased cleaning regimes and the use of a virucidal spray; extra staff at key stations to offer help and guidance; and processes in place to help customers maintain a safe distance where possible, such as restricting the number of reservations available.
Richard Burningham, Chair of Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, said: “We greatly welcome Network Rail’s investment in the St Ives Bay line which is a really important for the local economy, particularly at St Ives and Carbis Bay but for west Cornwall more widely.
“It’s a very busy line – in 2019 more than 660,000 journeys were made on the line – and it will hopefully be just as busy, if not busier, when Covid restrictions are lifted.”
Derek Thomas, MP for St Ives West Cornwall and The Isles of Scilly, said: “I have the great honour of welcoming the G7 summit later this year and the focus will be recovering from Covid and how we can deliver a low carbon green economy.
“That is why the investment in the St Ives Bay line is so welcome and so important because all of us will be thinking about reducing journeys on road and how we can use the railway more.”
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About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.