A Cornwall MP and local councillors visited Roskear signal box near Camborne station on Friday 16 November to celebrate the completion of a £30million upgrade to signalling in Devon and Cornwall that will improve reliability and increase services in the south west.
George Eustice MP (Camborne, Redruth and Hayle), councillor Geoff Brown (portfolio holder for transport, Cornwall Council) and Mark Duddridge (Chair, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership) took part in the signal box visit to find out more about how trains are signalled from the local Network Rail signaller; as well as discover how the increased capacity will help passengers now and in the future.
Working in partnership, the scheme has been jointly funded by the Department for Transport through Network Rail, Cornwall Council, and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership. The project has seen 21 additional signals on the Cornish Main Line and upgrades to seven level crossings to improve safety. This work has significantly increased the capacity and improved reliability of the railway network in Cornwall.
From May 2019, subject to the new timetable being confirmed, Great Western Railway (GWR) will be doubling the number of services within Cornwall; meaning there will be two trains an hour in each direction between Plymouth and Penzance.
Huw Edwards, programme director at Network Rail Infrastructure Projects, said:
“This is a momentous day for Cornwall, the south west and rail industry. Cornwall Council and the LEP are one of our largest third-party funders and their joint funding has enabled this £30m scheme to make a real difference for passengers with more frequent services and extra seats from 2019.”
“This is just one part of our Railway Upgrade Plan for Cornwall, where we are working in partnership with the council and train operator to improve rail services for passengers.”
George Eustice, Member of Parliament for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, said:
“This is great news for rail passengers across Cornwall. The upgraded signalling, including at the box near Camborne, has been delivered on time and will help ensure a better rail service with an increased number of trains and more seats for passengers. This is just one part of the Government’s record investment in rail, the largest since the Victorian era”
Councillor Geoff Brown, portfolio holder for transport at Cornwall Council said:
“Good public transport connections are vital to growing our economy and connecting communities. This is why we are working with partners to provide a One Public Transport System for Cornwall – a fully integrated and sustainable public transport network which will link bus, rail, ferry and airport timetables.
“As a Council we are committed to delivering this project to provide regular, convenient, reliable transport for residents and visitors. Passenger numbers in the south west are growing faster than anywhere else in the UK. Working with partners to improve the public transport infrastructure is a priority and the completion of the mainline signalling project by Network Rail is a key element.
“Ultimately we want to deliver an integrated SMART ticketing system for bus, rail and ferry to make it as easy and convenient as possible for residents and visitors to use all forms of public transport.”
Rob Mullen, operations manager for GWR, said:
“These improvements will not only improve the reliability of the railway infrastructure but will enable us to deliver the full benefits of new Intercity Express Trains, and more modern stopping services; better connecting communities across the routes we serve.”
“This will enable us to meet our shared aspiration for a half hourly service between Penzance and Plymouth; while also delivering more seats and quicker journeys between the South West and the capital.”