Watch our video line guides
Have a look at our great new video line guides for the Tarka, Tamar Valley, Looe Valley and St Ives Bay Lines. You can find them here.
8 November 2013
More Torbay trains from 9 December
Torbay and South Devon passengers are set to benefit from more frequent trains between Newton Abbot, Torre, Torquay and Paignton as part of a new project to improve local rail.
Four extra services each way will run between Newton Abbot and Paignton (also calling at Torre and Torquay), and there will be a further two additional stopping services each way between Exeter St Davids and Paignton.
Beginning on 9 December the new timetable means that there are at least two trains per hour throughout most of the day. The new services will provide more connections at Newton Abbot with main line trains to and from Exeter, Plymouth, Bristol and London.
The improved service is thanks to an EU project called Citizens’ Rail to develop local and regional railways in the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Along with the extra trains, the project will also see improvements made to stations on the Riviera Line between Paignton and Exeter, a major marketing campaign, work to involve the community in the line and a new officer employed at the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership to coordinate activities.
Local partners in the project – which is 50% funded by the EU’s INTERREG IVB programme – include Devon County Council, Torbay Council, First Great Western, Plymouth University and the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership.
Cllr Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth, said:“We know from local experience that having more frequent trains is key to attracting new passengers. We hope that, as patronage grows, services can develop to meet our aim of two trains an hour between Exeter and Paignton. Working in partnership in this way provides the best opportunity to achieve this.”
Torbay Council’s Executive Lead for Highways, Transport and Environment, Cllr Ray Hill, said:“This is a major step forward for Torbay’s railway, the Riviera Line. We welcome the extra journeys made by the additional train, which complements the work already undertaken between Torbay Council and First Great Western, providing improvements to the appearance of the stations. Not only will they make local public transport journeys even more convenient, they will also mean easier and more reliable connections to main line services to travel up and down the country. This is vital in attracting rail passengers to come and visit Torbay.”
First Great Western’s General Manager West David Crome said: “First Great Western is committed to supporting the communities we serve. Following the success of our community rail lines in Devon and Cornwall, we are delighted to partner in the Citizens’ Rail project.
“The additional services will make using the train much more attractive during the week, and our fares are also good value when compared with the price of driving and parking.”
Project Manager, Richard Burningham of the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership said:“By being part of this international project, we will be able to learn from rail expertise from across North West Europe. A big part of Citizens’ Rail is about getting people involved with their railway. Local residents and community organisations will be asked what improvements they would like to see and there will also be lots of opportunities too for volunteers to get involved, from lending their gardening skills to helping with redecorating.”
The new timetable and further information about the project is available at www.citizensrail.org/devon or by calling 01752 584777.
Adam to unveil his Maritime Line 150 winning poster at Truro station this Monday (21 October)
Photo opportunity – 13 00, Platform 2 at Truro station on Monday 21 October. Adam Campbell of St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Falmouth, will unveil his poster, watched by the Mayor of Penryn, the competition organiser, the Manager of the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership and his class.
Adam Campbell, winner of the schools’ poster competition organised to celebrate 150 years of trains on the Truro – Falmouth Maritime Line, will be unveiling his winning poster at Truro station this Monday (21 October).
Children from five local primary schools took part in the competition organised by The Poly Local History and Research Group to design a poster promoting travelling to Falmouth by train. Inspiration came from the Poly’s archive of historic photographs, many of which were on display at their Summer “Falmouth On Track” Exhibition, alongside the prize winning posters.
As part of his prize, Adam and his class from St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Falmouth were given a free trip to Truro to visit the Royal Cornwall Museum and watch Adam unveil his poster, courtesy of First Great Western.
First Great Western are also arranging for Adam’s poster to appear at other Cornish stations and Plymouth station over the coming weeks.
The judges included Penryn Mayor, Councillor Beverley Hulme who said: “This was a wonderful opportunity for the children to learn about their heritage and demonstrate their artistic skills. We were very impressed by the standard of entries and had some tough decisions to make.” The Mayor will be joining Adam at the unveiling on Monday.
As well as First Great Western, the competition was supported by local companies Fal River Cornwall, The Big Red Bus Company and The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society. It was just one of many events and activities organised to celebrate the anniversary, which fell on August Bank Holiday weekend, and co-ordinated by the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership.
Partnership Manager, Richard Burningham said “The Maritime Line has been going from strength to strength in recent years. I was delighted by how well the celebrations went and it’ll be great to see Adam’s poster going up across Cornwall to further celebrate the line’s 150th anniversary.”
The Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership is a non-profit partnership between local authorities, the rail industry and Plymouth University which works to promote the Maritime Line and other branch lines in the two counties. Leading members include Cornwall Council and First Great Western..
ContactRichard Burningham, Manager, Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership on 01752 584777
From October 2013, Network Rail will be carrying out essential track maintenance work across some of our branch lines in Devon and Cornwall.These works are a necessary step towards potential line speed increases in future and will lead to more reliable journeys. We are working to make sure that customers experience minimal disruptions to their journeys while these improvement works take place.
Full details here.
Celebrate 150 years of trains to Penryn and Falmouth.
On Saturday 24 August, it will be 150 years since the first train arrived in Falmouth. To celebrate this, a range of events has been organised locally. (download a programme sheet here.)
Monday 19 August to Saturday 7 September - Falmouth on track - how the railway changed the town
An exhibition of photographs and memorabilia from the RCPS history collection and friends to mark the 150th anniversary of the Falmouth railway line.
The Poly Local History and Research Group invite you to See early photographs of the town, Learn how the railway was built, Find out about the people involved and Discover how train transport changed the town. There will also be the opportunity to view working models of early trains courtesy of Falmouth Model Railway Group.
10 am to 4pm daily (except Sundays). Free entry. Family Fun Day Saturday 24th August
Thursday 22 August - Cornwall's Railways - a talk with slide show
19 30 at The Poly, Falmouth. Cost £5/£4 concs. John Ball will give a talk about Cornwall's railways, with an emphasis on the Maritime Line, accompanied by a slide show.
Saturday 24 August Family Fun Day
10.30 — 15.30 The Poly, Church St, Falmouth
Take part in a railway themed Family Fun Day
*Meet The Victorians * Craft Activities * Quiz * * Puzzles * Games* and More *
For children of all ages (under 16s must be accompanied). Free admission. Don’t forget your camera!
Saturday 24 August Making Faces Family Workshop
14 00 – 15 00 Falmouth Art Gallery, The Moor, Falmouth.
I moustache you a question
What’s your best feature?? Is it your eyes? Your nose? Your moustache?! Put on a Brunel top hat, take inspiration from Joel Stewart’s illustration ‘The adventures of a nose’ and send them on a journey down the Maritime Line!
Free admission. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.
Saturday and Sunday 24 and 25 August - Steam in Falmouth
Thanks to the Bodmin & Wenford Railway, a steam locomotive will be seen in Falmouth for this first time in many years. GWR Pannier Tank 6435 will be on display on The Moor in Falmouth town centre from 10 00 to 16 00 on both days. On Saturday, there will be an array of stalls and displays including mini traction engines
Saturday and Sunday 24 and 25 August - Go for a trip - £1.50 for the 150th
For the 150th anniversary, a Day Return ticket between any two stations on the Maritime Line (Truro - Falmouth Docks inclusive) will cost just £1.50 Adult, 75p Child on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August. No further Railcard or Groupsave discounts.
Saturday and Sunday 24 and 25 August – Tour Falmouth on “Ruby”, a big red London Routemaster bus.
From 10 00 to 16 00 on both days, “Ruby” will set from Events Square, Falmouth (by the National Maritime Museum Cornwall) for a 50 minute run around Falmouth. It will also call at Falmouth Docks station, parked cars permitting. Fare £2.50.
Sunday 25 August - 150th Anniversary train
First Great Western are running a special 150th Anniversary train in the morning of Sunday 25 August. The train will be one of their fleet of High Speed Trains, usually seen on the London run. The train will leave Truro at 09 37 and arrive back at 10 40.
There are a very limited number of tickets available for travel on this train from Truro only. Bookings can only be made by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and must be made by 12 noon on Friday 23 August (subject to space still being available then). No tickets will be available on the day and it will not be possible for the public to join or leave the train at branch line stations.
Saturday and Sunday 24 and 25 August - A series of guided walks organised by the Ramblers (Carrick Group)
PENMERE. Meet Penmere Station. Start 10.00 am on arrival of 9.51 am train from Falmouth Docks, due 9.56am . If arriving by car, park in Theydon Road opposite station. Budock Church, College Reservoir, Penryn Town Fair. Picnic lunch or eat in Penryn (leader can recommend an eatery). 4 miles, 2.5hrs. Money needed to cover snack and drink. Leader - Mary Weston.
PERRANWELL. Meet Perranwell station. 5PM. Perranwell station, St Piran’s Well, Perran Foundry to the Norway Inn. Before returning to Perranwell Station or catching the bus back to Truro, there is the opportunity to have a meal at the Inn. 3 miles, 2 hours. Money needed for optional meal and public transport costs. Leader - Mary Weston.
TRURO Meet Truro station. 12 noon. Field and quiet roads to Newmills. Views of railway viaduct and cathedral. 2 ½ miles. 1 ½ hours. Leader - Mary Weston.
PERRANWELL. Meet Perranwell Station. Start 2.00pm after arrival of 1.34 pm train from Falmouth Docks due 1.52 pm. (note that Perranwell Station is a request stop only). A walk around the village going under and over the railway. 3 miles, 1.5hrs. Leaders - Phil and Barbara Roberts.
TRURO Meet Cotswold Outdoors, Lemon Quay, 5PM. Cathedral and old Newham railway line. 3-4 miles, 2.5 hours. Money needed for snack and drink. Leader - Mary Weston.
Events made possible thanks to support from the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership, Cornwall Council and the Designated Community Rail Development Fund, backed by the Department for Transport, Network Rail and the Association of Community Rail Partnerships.
All events advertised in good faith. Events may be cancelled for any reason and no responsibility or liability can be accepted for any cancellations or other changes.
Published by the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership – 01752 584777 – 9/8/13
New Tarka Line Walks book published
The hugely successful Tarka Line Walks booklets have been succeeded by a book, also called "Tarka Line Walks", in which author Peter Craske has combined all 44 walks from the first two booklets with another 16 brand new ones.
Price £9.99, the book is available from local bookshops or direct from the publishers - details here.
13 December 2012
FREE LOOE VALLEY LINE MINCE PIES TO BOOST LOCAL SHOPS
On two days next week, free mince pies and mulled apple juice will be on offer to encourage local Liskeard and Looe residents to do their Christmas shopping by train on the Looe Valley Line and support traders in both of the towns.
The promotion will run on 20 and 21 December and will see passengers who take the special trains offered a free glass of mulled apple juice, a mince pie and a booklet of discounts and special offers to use in shops in the two towns.
Rebecca Catterall from the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership which is running the promotion said “This will be a great opportunity for local people to enjoy a journey on the scenic Looe Valley Line, get a little helping hand when it comes to Christmas shopping and support their local traders at the same time.”
The promotional trains will be the 09 58 and 11 18 departures from Liskeard to Looe and the 10 32 and 11 47 departures from Looe to Liskeard on 20 and 21 December.
An adult off peak day return is £3.90, children 5-15 are half price, under 5s go free.
For full details of train times and fares, call National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50 or visit www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk
The promotion is being organised by the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership, a non-profit partnership of local authorities and the rail industry which works promote the Looe Valley Line and other branch lines throughout the two counties. Members include Cornwall Council and First Great Western.
9 December 2011
Newquay Winter Sunday services start on 11 December - half price Day Returns too.
For details, please see the First Great Western press release here
29 November 2011
New level access to Bugle railway station opened
A new level access path to Bugle railway station is to be officially opened on Thursday 1 December (12 30).
The access from Station Road means that people wanting to catch trains on the Newquay branch line “The Atlantic Coast Line” no longer need to use the steep steps from the road bridge. This will particularly help mothers with toddlers and the disabled.
Until the late 1970s, Bugle station was surrounded by sidings and both sides of the platform were used. The sidings have now gone and the former railway land has been redeveloped for housing.
The idea for new level access to the station came from FoCal, the Friends of the Atlantic Coast Line. Funding for the £10,000 project has come from the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership and includes a grant from the Designated Community Rail Development Fund and a bequest from the late John Hobby, founder and co-ordinator of the Rural Stations’ Project until his death in 2007.
The path at the First Great Western station was constructed by Network Rail and Cornwall Council has assisted with new signage to the station.
FoCaL Chairman Jim Cleare said “I am sure many train users at Bugle will join FoCal in welcoming the new improved access to Bugle station, which is the busiest of the intermediate stations on the Newquay Branch. It is a far cry from the perilous flight of stairs from a very busy road. However, this will remain for the benefit of travellers coming from the north of the station.”
Richard Burningham, Manager of the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership said “This new level access to Bugle station is a great example of partnership in action. I am very pleased we have been able to help make this community aspiration a reality. I know that John Hobby, who left money in his will to enhance Cornish stations, would have loved this project.”
Julian Crow, First Great Western Regional Manager for the West of England said “Community Rail is all about local people deciding what is important to them, and It’s great to see a locally inspired project like this being completed, to make it so much easier for passengers to and from Bugle to access their railway station.
Bugle station is served by trains on “The Atlantic Coast Line”, the branch line which links Par and Newquay. Train times can be obtained from www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk or by calling National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50. Information about FoCal, the Friends of the Atlantic Coast Line can be found at www.focal.org.uk
17 November 2011
Looe Valley Line "Munchtime Express" wins national award
The “Munchtime Express”, an event to raise the profile of Looe restaurants and the Looe Valley Line, has won the Best Marketing Event of the year award in the National Community Rail Awards, beating off strong challenges from events held in Devon, Dorset, Greater Manchester and Staffordshire.
Billed as “Britain’s longest buffet”, the “Munchtime Express” was a month-long promotion which gave local people the chance to sample food from some of Looe’s best restaurants while travelling on the scenic Looe Valley Line.
The Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, in conjunction with Looe restaurants Squid Ink; Trawlers on the Quay and Barclay House, spent four Tuesdays in November last year travelling on the line and feeding passengers.
One of those who took part, Graham Brooks, owner of Barclay House Hotel said “The “Munchtime Express” was a great way to liven up a November lunchtime and for local people and visitors alike to enjoy not just great scenery from the train window but also enjoy superb food from Looe's Award Winning Restaurants.”
Jocelyn Braithwaite from West Looe came up with the idea. She said ” "it's wonderful that this hugely enjoyable event has scooped the award. Having worked in PR for over eight years, the coming up with ideas is always the easy part.. turning them into reality is much harder but when you have great people to work alongside such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Rail Partnership and the restaurants, it's actually great fun. The award is for everyone who took part."
Julian Crow, West of England Regional Manager for First Great Western said 'It's really great to see the Looe Valley Line being used in such a novel way to promote local businesses, and the award is thoroughly deserved. We've had another record year on the line, helped by all the extra passengers that such enjoyable events attract.'
Richard Burningham, Manager of the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership said “We are delighted that this lovely event has been won the Best Marketing Event award. It did a great job in promoting both use of the Looe Valley Line and the participating restaurants. We certainly want to do it again.”
The Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership is a non-profit partnership between local authorities, including Cornwall Council and Devon County Council, the rail industry and Plymouth University which works to promote rural branch lines in the two counties.
The National Community Rail Awards celebrate the work being done to promote and enhance Britain’s rural and local railways around the country. The awards ceremony was held in Sheffield in late September.
1 October 2011
Plymouth train naming to mark 20 years of award winning partnership
The Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership, an award winning organisation which works to promote local railway branch lines, is being honoured by having a First Great Western train named after it at Plymouth station next Tuesday (4 October) to mark its twentieth anniversary.
The Plymouth University based Partnership is a non-profit body comprising local authorities, the rail industry, University and others. It works mainly to promote and seek improvements to services and facilities on six rural branch lines in the two counties, including the Tamar Valley Line from Plymouth to Gunnislake and the Looe Valley Line from Liskeard to Looe.
Principal members of the Partnership include Devon County Council, Cornwall Council, Plymouth City Council and First Great Western.
The Partnership was set up in 1991. The nameplate on the Class 150 two coach local diesel train is to be unveiled by the Partnership’s second member of staff, Sandra Horn from Peverell, Plymouth, who joined the following year and is still a member of its small team today.
The anniversary and train naming come at a time of great success for the branch lines. Each has its best ever service and five out of the six are in the top ten fastest growing branch lines in the country in terms of passenger numbers. Almost 1.7 million journeys were made on these lines in 2010, a rise of 89% over 2001, the first year for which figures are available.
The Partnership’s work includes a lot of promotional activity across the two counties and much further afield. Among many other things, it regularly organises household distribution of rail information, set up and runs the Tamar Valley and Tarka Carnet discounted ticket schemes and is the force behind the Rail Ale Trails.
The Partnership’s Manager, Richard Burningham said “We are very honoured to have a train named after the Partnership. It is a lovely touch by First Great Western who have always been very helpful and supportive. Their approach, and the long term support of the partners, especially the local authorities, is in large part why the branch lines are so successful at the moment. It’s something we must keep going and take forward into the new rail franchise which begins in 2013.”
As a mark of the Partnership’s success, Mr Burningham was awarded the MBE for “Services to the rail industry in the South West” in the 2010 New Year Honours.
Julian Crow, First Great Western’s Regional Manager for the West of England said ”The Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership has a remarkable record of success in promoting our local branch railways. Working together we have created the most successful group of local lines in the UK, and we are delighted to recognise their huge contribution over the past 20 years with this train naming in their honour".
More information about the Partnership can be found on their website www.greatscenicrailways.com
21 August 2011
Local lines among top ten fastest growing branch lines
Two local lines, the Plymouth – Gunnislake Tamar Valley Line and the Liskeard – Looe Looe Valley Line are among the top ten fastest growing branch lines in Britain, according to new figures published by the Association of Train operating Companies (ATOC).
Passengers made 169,388 journeys on the Tamar Valley Line between April 2010 and March 2011, an increase of 21.8% on the numbers seen during the same period in 2007 and 2008. This gave the line ninth place in the branch line league table.
On the Looe Valley Line, 95,446 journeys were made between April 2010 and March 2011, an increase of 23.8% over 2007/8, giving the line eighth place in the table. The table was topped by another Cornish branch line, the one between Truro and Falmouth, which has seen a 90.6% increase.
Richard Burningham, Manager of the Plymouth University based Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership which works to promote all three lines said “I am delighted that both the Tamar Valley Line and the Looe Valley Line are among Britain’s top ten fastest growing branch lines. More and more local people and visitors are taking to the trains and long may this continue. We certainly intend to do all we can to make sure it does.”
The Partnership set up and runs the Tamar Valley Line Carnet scheme where books of discounted single tickets to and from Plymouth are sold in seven shops and post offices in the Tamar Valley. These now account for a fifth of all journeys made. It also undertakes a large amount of promotion, including 60,000 line guides for both lines this year distributed widely in Devon and Cornwall and through First Great Western stations as far as Paddington..
The Partnership also runs the popular Rail Ale Trails, promoting travel by train to pubs close to branch line stations, and joined with Looe Town Council and the South East Cornwall Tourism Association earlier this year to run visit Looe events, complete with giant pasty, in Plymouth City Centre and at Birmingham New St station. It is a non-profit partnership between local authorities, the rail industry and Plymouth University. Members include Plymouth City Council, Devon County Council and West Devon Borough Council.
The Looe Valley and Tamar Valley Lines are two of six First Great Western branch lines in the national top ten.
First Great Western Regional Manager West, Julian Crow said:
“It’s great to have six out of the top ten branches for growth, and really validates all the work we’ve been doing to develop these lines.
“This is a shining example of the way in which careful investment and partnership to improve the rail network can produce huge benefits to our customers and to the local economy.
“We will continue to work with local councils, community rail partnerships and our passengers to ensure our branch lines maintain this remarkable success.”
“Since we took over the franchise we’ve really gone the extra mile with these lines, to ensure they thrive, now and into the future.”
Edward Welsh, Director of Corporate Affairs at ATOC, said: “A combination of reliability, value for money, comfort and better promotion have contributed to increasing numbers of local people using branch lines as a way to get out and about throughout the year.
“The resurgence of many of these lines is good news for rural economies. Having a rail link that brings hundreds of thousands of people a year into towns and villages helps to ensure vibrant and thriving rural economies.”
18 May 2011
Two years on - nearly 1 Million journeys made on improved Maritime Line
Nearly one million journeys have been made by passengers on the Truro-Falmouth Maritime Line in the two years since the train service was doubled with the opening of a passing loop at Penryn station.
An estimated 945,000 journeys have been made on the Maritime Line since the improved service was introduced on 18 May 2009. This is almost two thirds more than the 579,081 journeys made in the previous two years.
In 2010, 477,500 journeys were made on the line, more than two and half times the 185,000 recorded in 2001, the earliest year for which figures are available.
The improvements were made possible thanks to a Cornwall Council led scheme costing £7.8m, which included £4.67m from ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) Convergence, £2.50m from Cornwall Council and £600,000 from Network Rail.
Penryn station was completely rebuilt and the new passing loop and associated signalling installed to allow trains to run every 30 minutes.
Cornwall Council Cabinet member for Transportation and Highways, Graeme Hicks said: “This has been a huge success for rail passengers that has attracted hundreds of thousands of passengers. We need good transport links in Cornwall and working with our partners we are very pleased to have achieved that.
“Looking ahead, with First Great Western we are seeking additional carriages for the Maritime Line to increase capacity and improve passenger comfort at times of peak demand. There is capacity on the rail network in Cornwall which can be secured to improve mobility and reduce congestion on the roads. Having such a success on the Maritime Line isvery encouraging and supports the work currently being undertaken through the Mid-Cornwall Rail Study to develop further improvements aimed at further increasing the use of Cornwall's rail network in the future.”
Mark Yeoman, Deputy Director of the Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said, “This was both the first ERDF investment to be approved under the Convergence Programmes and the first ERDF investment anywhere in the country in the present programmes. It was intended to strengthen transport and economic links between three thriving business hubs – Truro, Penryn and Falmouth - as well as the Combined Universities in Cornwall Tremough campus. The year on year increase in passenger numbers is testament to both the original ambition of the project and its effective delivery with a 63% increase in journeys between 2008 and 2010.”
Julian Crow, First Great Western’s Regional Manager for the West of England said “This is a shining example of the way in which careful investment to improve the rail network can produce huge benefits to customers and to the local economy. We have been pleased to work closely with Cornwall Council to achieve this result and look forward to developing further rail schemes with them in the future"
Richard Burningham, Manager of the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership, the non profit body which works to promote the line, said “It is fabulous to see the success of the improved service on the Maritime Line. Local people have responded in big numbers to the doubling of the train service which, among many other benefits, is helping take cars off the busy roads.” ENDS
12 May 2011
Tarka Line Author to visit Barnstaple station on Monday 16 May
Michael Williams, author of “On The Slow Train Again”, a new book which features the Tarka Line, will be travelling by train to Barnstaple station next Monday (16 May) to meet up again with two of the people who feature in the book.
The Tarka Line is one of ten lines nationwide included in the book. Michael Williams describes the line as 'idyllic', saying "Here are some of the richest views from any train window in Britain.”
He will be meeting up again with Mike Day, owner of the award winning Stationmaster’s Café at Barnstaple station who he describes in the book as being “disconcertingly similar to the TV chef Jamie Oliver” and Richard Burningham, Travel Centre Manager for British Rail at Barnstaple station in the mid 1980s.
Richard accompanied Michael on his initial trip to Barnstaple, talking about the line and reminiscing about some of the characters he worked with at Barnstaple station.
For the last thirteen years, Richard has run the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership, a non-profit partnership between local authorities, including Devon County Council, First Great Western and the University of Plymouth which works to promote the Tarka Line and other rural branch lines in the two counties.
In writing his book, Michael Williams spent two years travelling around the network to find the most beautiful and relaxing services. The train journeys were chosen as perfect cures for the stresses of modern life.
"Forget commuting on overcrowded trains, leaves on the line. The nation that invented the passenger train still offers some of the most superb railway journeys in the world. You just need to seek them out," said Mr Williams.
14 December 2010
Special £1.50 fare to celebrate 150 years of trains to Looe
Monday 27 December is the 150th anniversary of the very first train to Looe and to celebrate, First Great Western are offering the chance to travel between Liskeard and Looe for just £1.50 adult, 75p child Day Return every day that week.
No advance booking is required. Tickets can be bought at Liskeard station or on the train if joining at Looe or another branch line station.
12 August 2010
Steam trains and Looe fete to help celebrate 150 years of the Looe Valley Line in September
September will see many activities to celebrate 150 years of the Looe Valley Line. There will be a station fete at Looe on 11 September and on Sundays 19 and 26 September, steam will return to the line for the first time since 1961.
Download the Looe 150 leaflet here . This includes the programme of events & the special Looe 150 Rail Ale Trail.
Four round trips will run from Liskeard to Looe on each Sunday with former GWR Pannier Tank 9466 at one end and a Class 37 diesel at the other. The trains are being run by Vintage Trains in partnership with First Great Western as part of the celebrations of 175 years of the Great Western Railway.
17 May 2010
Bere Ferrers and Calstock upgraded in new Tamar Valley Line train timetable
Bere Ferrers and Calstock stations will lose their ‘request stop’ status from the start of the new timetable on the scenic Plymouth – Gunnislake Tamar Valley Line this Sunday, 23 May.
For more than a decade, passengers wishing to leave the train at Calstock and Bere Ferrers stations have had to ask the train conductor in good time. Those wishing to join have, at least officially, had to signal clearly to the train driver.
From time to time, this has led to problems, particularly with people for Bere Ferrers being taken on to Bere Alston.
Now both stations will become regular stops and all trains except for the very early train out from Plymouth will call automatically.
First Great Western are making the change because, with rising passenger numbers, almost all trains are already stopping at the two stations.
Julian Crow, General Manager, West of England for First Great Western said “As passenger numbers continue to grow, the days when Calstock and Bere Ferrers stations were only used by a handful of people are now behind us and this small change will simplify using the railway for both customers and our on-board crews. It’s another demonstration of the continuing success story of our local rail services”
Welcoming the change, Richard Burningham, Manager of the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership said “This is another sign of the growing popularity of the Tamar Valley Line. More and more people are taking the train with a 12.3% increase just in 2009. Nearly 50,000 more journeys were made last year than five years before.”
Other timetable changes are relatively minor. One of the main ones is that the weekday afternoon commuter train from Plymouth will now leave five minutes earlier, at 16 37.
The new timetable is available online at www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk . Timetable information can also be obtained from National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50.
2 April 2010
250,000 extra passengers on Devon & Cornwall’s rural branch lines. Numbers top 1.5 million for the first time.
Newly released figures show that over 250,000 more passengers travelled on Devon & Cornwall’s rural rail branch lines in 2009 than did the year before, a rise of 19%. For the first time, the total number of passengers on the six lines topped than 1.5 million.
Figures released by train operator First Great Western show that 1,593,142 journeys were made on the region’s branch lines in 2009, 254,027 or 19% more than the year before.
Branch line use has gone up by 78% since 2001 when 698,847 journeys were made.
The top individual line was the Atlantic Coast Line which links Par with Newquay. This saw an increase in the number of trains from four to seven a day in December 2008, a move rewarded with a 58.1% rise in the number of journeys made on the line.
In numbers’ terms, the Maritime Line which links Truro and Falmouth topped the table. A Cornwall Council led scheme saw the opening of a passing loop at Penryn and introduction of a half hourly service in May, a move which led to a 31.6% increase in the number of journeys made by passengers, 92,652 extra trips. The number of journeys made on this line has more than doubled since 2001, from 185,000 then to 385,678 in 2009.
The St Ives Bay Line which links St Erth and St Ives was the busiest of the branch lines with over 501,476 journeys in 2009, up nearly 66,000 trips, 15.1% more than 2008. 2009 was the first time more than half a million journeys were made on the line.
The Looe Valley Line, which links Liskeard with Looe, also posted a big increase with 17.4% extra journeys made.
Passenger trips on the Exeter – Barnstaple Tarka Line were up by 11.2%, 39,122 extra trips. This line too saw an increase in the number of trains in December 2008 when an hourly service through most of the day was introduced.
All six branch lines are promoted by the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership, a partnership of local authorities, the rail industry and the University of Plymouth. Its Manager, Richard Burningham, said “2009 was a bumper year for Devon and Cornwall’s rural branch lines. These excellent figures show that more and more people are finding the train a great way to get around for work or leisure.”
Julian Crow, First Great Western’s General Manager for the West of England, said “We've been working away quietly over the past couple of years to make substantial improvements to the Devon & Cornwall branch line services, with great support from the Rail Partnership and local authorities. We have now reached the point where each line has the best train service that it has ever had, and it's great to see so many more people using these famous little lines that are becoming so important to the local economy. We are of course looking forward to a good summer in 2010 and another record year for passenger numbers!
The six branch lines are the Tarka Line (Exeter – Barnstaple), Tamar Valley Line (Plymouth – Gunnislake), Looe Valley Line (Liskeard – Looe), Atlantic Coast Line (Par – Newquay), Maritime Line (Truro – Falmouth) and St Ives Bay Line (St Erth – St Ives).
31 December 2009
MBE for Rail Partnership Manager
The manager of the Plymouth University based body which promotes rural branch lines in Devon & Cornwall has been awarded the MBE in the New Year Honours.
Richard Burningham has been the manager of the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership since 1998. He has been awarded the MBE for “Services to the Railway Industry in the South West”.
The Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership is a non-profit partnership of local authorities, including Cornwall Council, Devon County Council and Plymouth City Council, First Great Western and the University of Plymouth, where it is part of the School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences.
The Partnership works to promote travel on six rural branch lines in the two counties, seeks improvements to services and facilities, works to boost the local economies of the places served through their rail link and to link the community and rail industry.
Established in 1991, it is the longest established of Britain’s 60 Community Rail Partnerships and one of the largest too.
The MBE rounds off a very big 2009 for the Partnership. Each of the six branch lines it focuses on has its best ever timetable and, with one full month of figures still to come in, already more than 1.5 million journeys have been made on the branch lines, up 19% on 2008 and almost two-thirds more than five years ago.
Partnership projects scooped two top awards at the National Community Rail Awards, which also saw Mr Burningham being given a Special Recognition Award.
Mr Burningham said ”I am very touched and humbled to receive the MBE and I would like to say a very big thank you. This is a massive honour for the Partnership as a whole and caps what has been an excellent year with now the best ever train service on the branch lines and a big increase in passenger numbers.
None of this would have been possible without the stalwart support of the Partners and especially the three principal local authorities, Cornwall Council, Devon County Council and Plymouth City Council.
These three are among the most proactive councils in the Country for working to make the very most of their rail network, not just through their support of the Partnership but also the many schemes they have worked up directly with the rail industry. This year has been a bumper year here too with highlights being the opening of the Cornwall led Penryn passing loop and the Devon led introduction of an hourly service between Exeter and Barnstaple.
I would also like to say a big thank you to First Great Western. This year’s improved timetables are in very large part down to them and they have consistently been extremely supportive of the Partnership.”
The Partnership’s achievements include the Tamar Valley Line Carnet, books of discounted tickets sold only at local shops and businesses for travel between Tamar Valley stations and Plymouth. Introduced five years ago, a fifth of all journeys on the line are now made using Carnets and there are now 40% more passengers than there were before its introduction. The Carnet is fully managed and administered by the Partnership.
The Partnership runs large scale publicity campaigns throughout the region, including six Rail Ale Trails, one for each line, which promote travel by train to rural pubs close to stations. Participants travel from all over the country (and even abroad) to do the Rail Ale Trails. The first person to do all six came from South Shields near Newcastle.
One of the Partnership’s key aims is to get targeted information about local rail services direct to local people. It regularly produces simple “Take the Train” timetable and fares leaflets and organises door to door delivery in areas served by branch line trains. It also runs newspaper advertisement campaigns.
The Partnership organised the publicity campaign for the opening of the Penryn passing loop and introduction of a half hourly service between Truro, Penryn and Falmouth in May. This included two leaflets directly distributed to local homes, full page local newspaper adverts and public exhibitions of a working model of the new Penryn station in Truro, Penryn and Falmouth.
Passenger numbers are up by 30% since the new service was introduced.
Mr Burningham said “Of course, the train isn’t suitable for every journey but, on the branch lines, where the train does offer a real choice, we aim to make sure that people know what the train has to offer and to get them to give it a go. This helps reduce the number of cars on the road and rising passenger numbers help make the case for further improvements to branch line train services.”
30 November 2009
Train timetable changed for Looe Torchlight Procession - Thursday 17 December
Following a request from Looe Town Council and the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership, First Great Western are changing the Looe Valley Line train timetable on Thursday 17 December to encourage people to take the train to Looe’s Lantern Procession and Carol Service.
The normal 18 02 train from Liskeard will leave earlier at 17 47 and arrive in Looe at 18 18, in good time for passengers to join the Lantern Procession and Carol Service at The Globe opposite the station at 18 30. Returning from Looe, the last train will leave at 20 09 (fifteen minutes later than usual) and arrive in Liskeard at 20 40.
This will mean that people can travel back by train after the Procession has ended. There will be connections at Liskeard for Saltash and Plymouth.
The Processions will start from The Globe, East Looe, Millpool Car Park and Fire Station, West Looe. Assembly at 18.30 for the start of the Processions at approximately 18.55. All Processions will meet at East Looe Bridgend and process down Fore Street, Buller Street and round onto the Buller Quay culminating in a Carol Service at the Fishmarket. Soup and rolls will be provided after the Carol Service in the Tourist Information Centre.
All proceeds from the collection during the Carol Service will go to the Mayor’s Charity which, this year, is the RNLI to go towards buying a tractor to pull their new lifeboat.
The Mayor of Looe, Cllr Michael Joy said “The Looe Valley Line is essential to the life blood of the town and I am delighted that First Great Western have been able to support the town by altering the train timetable for our Lantern Procession to make it possible for people to leave their cars behind and let the train take the strain. Our thanks to them and the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership.”
Richard Burningham, Manager of the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership said “It is great that First Great Western have been able to be flexible and make travelling to and from Looe’s Lantern Procession easier by train. I hope people will take the opportunity to leave their cars behind and take the train.”
Julian Crow, First Great Western’s General Manager for the West of England said “It’s a great occasion, a really worthy cause, and we’re happy to help”.
The Off Peak Day Return fare from Liskeard to Looe is £3.40 adult, £1.70 child (5-15 years) and from Saltash to Looe £4.50 adult, £2.25 child. With a GroupSave ticket, up to four people can travel together for the price of two Off Peak Day Return fares.
The Rail Partnership are organising publicity to advise those who normally catch the 18 02 train from Liskeard of the change.
Further information on train times and fares can be obtained from www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk or by calling National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50.
Giant pasty wins rail award
An event at London’s Paddington station last March promoting the scenic Looe Valley and Tamar Valley Lines and featuring a giant pasty has won the Best Marketing Event award at the National Community Rail Awards, held in Carlisle on Friday, 25 September.
The event was organised by the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership who worked with the two tourism associations for the Looe and Tamar Valley Lines, South East Cornwall Tourism Association (SECTA) and Tamar Valley Tourism Association (TAVATA).
Members of both associations joined Partnership staff for the day in London, talking to commuters and handing out free promotional season ticket holders.
The event’s centrepiece was a giant pasty, baked by Barnecutts of Bodmin. There was a competition to guess the pasty’s weight with prizes of short breaks in the south west organised by the two tourism associations.
Station owners Network Rail provided the exhibition site at Paddington free of charge while First Great Western provided free travel for the participants and for the prize short breaks.
A photograph of this event was awarded second prize in the Best Community Rail Photograph category.
As well as the Best Marketing Event victory, the Rail Partnership’s project to promote visiting the medieval National Trust Cotehele Estate by train and the pleasant walk from Calstock station won second prize in the Local Station Environment category
The Best Community Rail Photograph award was won by Ian Dinmore of Norfolk County Council for a picture taken of Paddington Bear and a lot of Plymouth children at the National Community Rail Festival held at Plymouth station last year.
In one of the last presentations of the night, Richard Burningham, Manager of the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership since 1998 was given a Special Recognition award.
Visit Morwellham Quay by scenic train and bus this Summer
This Summer, you can visit the World Heritage Site historic port, mine and railway at Morwellham Quay in the Tamar Valley by train and bus.
Mondays to Fridays from 27 July to 4 September, take the 10 46 train from Plymouth on the scenic Tamar Valley Line to Gunnislake where there will be a connecting bus to Morwellham Quay. The bus will leave Morwellham Quay at 15 25 to connect with the 15 45 train back to Plymouth (arriving at 16 30).
An Adult Day Return fare from Plymouth to Gunnislake is £4.40, Child (5 - 15) £2.20. Return bus fare - £1 adult, 50p child. Further details available here. The special leaflet is here. Visit Morwellham Quay's website for information about what to do and see there.
Tickets may be purchased on the day. No advance booking necessary.
St Germans and the Railway - 150th Anniversary - 8 to 13 June
An exhibition to commemmorate 150 years of the railway at St Germans will be held in St Germans parish church,
Monday 8 June to Saturday 13 June, 10 00 to 17 00 each day.
Maritime Line train services to double from Monday 18 May 2009
Maritime Line train services will more than double from Monday 18 May with the opening of a new passing loop at Penryn station.
Through most of the day, six days a week, trains will run every thirty minutes between Truro, Penryn and Falmouth
This transformation is being made possible thanks to a Cornwall Council led scheme costing £7.8 million. The project is supported by the ERDF Convergence Programme, Network Rail and First Great Western.
Read Network Rail's press release on the passing loop and improved services here.
New timetables starting 17 May.
New timetables for the Great Scenic Railways of Devon & Cornwall can be found here.
"Don't miss the train!" Extra train means big changes to the Tamar Valley Line timetable from 14 December.
Train company First Great Western is to run an extra train daily on the Plymouth – Gunnislake Tamar Valley Line Mondays to Saturdays from the start of the Winter timetable on 14 December. Download a new timetable here ...
More new timetables starting 14 December.
Both the Atlantic Coast Line from Par to Newquay and the Tarka Line from Exeter to Barnstaple have recent revisions to their timetables. Download new versions here ...
Atlantic Coast Line timetable (Par - Newquay)...
Tarka Line timetable (Exeter - Barnstaple)...
Download full timetables for Devon and Cornwall from First Great Western's website here...
Visit the National Community Rail Festival - Plymouth, Tamar Valley Line and Looe Valley Line. Saturday 20 September 2008
Celebrate Britain's local and rural railways at the National Community Rail Festival, this year being held in the south west for the first time Full details here ...
Once threatened early Tamar Valley commuter train now extended to Gunnislake
More details ...
Tarka Line Jazz Trains begin on 13 June
Tarka Line Jazz Trains will run again from Barnstaple to Eggesford during Summer 2008. More details ...
Back to the future ... with new station names on Looe Valley Line Action Day - 17 May 2008
Students garden at Liskeard, Coombe becomes Coombe Junction Halt and St Keyne becomes St Keyne Wishing Well Halt. More details ...
Happy 30th Birthday, Lelant Saltings
The ground breaking rail park and ride for St Ives celebrates thirty years of taking cars off the road. More details ...
New Ticket Office for Looe platform at Liskeard station
After a 98 year gap, Looe Valley Line platform again has its own “ticket office” and shop at Liskeard station.
More details ...
New Tamar Valley Line Walks Pack launched
A new pack of self-guided walks from Tamar Valley Line stations are available free from local Tourist Information Centres, via our leaflet request form or e-mail the Rail Partnership here and we will send you one free
This is the website of the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership, School of Geography, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, PL4 8AA e-mail
We are a Community Rail Partnership, one of the longest established and largest in the country. Find out more about us here