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Green light for Mid Cornwall Metro initiative to transform transport links in Cornwall

Image shows a train at a train station

A project to transform transport links in mid Cornwall so that residents can better connect to employment, education and key services, has been given the green light by the Council’s cabinet.  

Working with delivery partners GWR and Network Rail, the new Mid Cornwall Metro coast to coast rail service will create a sustainable transport corridor through central Cornwall by improving the current links between four of Cornwall’s largest towns: Newquay, St Austell, Truro, and Falmouth/Penryn. 

At today’s meeting, Cabinet members agreed to provisionally accept the offer of £50m Levelling Up Funding towards the delivery of the £56.8 million Mid Cornwall Metro initiative. 

Cllr Richard Williams-Pears, the Council’s portfolio holder for transport, said:

"We are committed to providing a thriving and sustainable Cornwall, fit for the modern world, for the benefit 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.

“It is an important next step in developing and improving the transport network to support more active lifestyles, offer a greener alternative, reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and alleviate traffic congestion by encouraging more people to leave the car and walk, cycle and use public transport instead.

“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."

Mid Cornwall Metro will bring -

  • an hourly direct train service connecting Newquay, Par, St Austell, Truro, Penryn and Falmouth 
  • a new platform at Newquay Railway Station 
  • a new passing loop on the Newquay branch line at Tregoss Moor 
  • doubling of the number of rail services between Newquay and Par - an extra 700,000 seats per year both ways 
  • improved accessibility and interchange at Par Station 
  • upgrades to the level crossing  
  • increased frequency of mainline services between Par, St Austell and Truro 
  • reduced journey times and ease road congestion for people living along the route  
  • public realm and accessibility improvements at rail stations and adjacent areas in Newquay, Roche, Bugle and Falmouth/Penryn
  • ticket digitalisation - providing tap-on/tap-off ‘Pay-As-You-Go’ ticketing in Cornwall.

Matt Barnes, GWR Head of Strategic Service Development, said:

“This is really exciting news and we look forward to working with our partners to start delivering the Mid Cornwall Metro initiative, which is going to be truly transformative for the whole of the region.

“Cornwall Council has already done so much to support modal shift and sustainable travel and we are proud to be working with them on this revolutionary project, which will deliver immeasurable benefits for GWR customers.”

Bogdan Lupu, Network Rail industry programme director, said:

“This is exciting news for Cornwall and we’re looking forward to helping deliver more trains in the county.

“Mid Cornwall Metro will transform the way people get around Cornwall and encourage sustainable travel.”

There will be a programme of public and stakeholder engagement on the proposals as the scheme designs develop.    

Work is due to start in 2024. 

A new website for Mid Cornwall Metro will be coming soon. In the meantime, find out more about the Mid Cornwall Metro project

Also on today's agenda was a review of Home to School, transport, which included pedestrian route assessments. 

Following an extensive engagement exercise, the Cabinet has decided that no direct changes will be made to transport provision at this time, and that the policy will be reviewed in full at a future date.  

Two other agenda items, the provision of care at home with support, and the Cornwall Mineral Safeguarding and Development plan, were also approved at the meeting. 

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