April 16, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

More residents invited to experience how Mid Cornwall Metro will transform transport links in Cornwall

Photo is a collage of three images - a person wearing a virtual reality headset; people looking at an interactive map and a person looking at a computer screen

Residents and businesses in and around Penryn will be able to take a virtual reality balloon ride to ‘see’ for themselves how the Mid Cornwall Metro, funded by Cornwall Council and £50m of government Levelling Up Funding, will create a sustainable transport corridor through central Cornwall.  

Two engagement events are being held at:

  • The Stannary on the University campus at Tremough on Friday 1 March from 10:00 to 17:00,
  • Temperance Hall, Lower Market Street, Penryn TR10 8BH on Saturday 2 March from 10:00 to 16:00.  

Like the many who came to the popular events held in Newquay earlier this month, they can take part in the cutting-edge virtual reality and an immersive digital experience, created by digital design partners Digital Urban, as residents take a balloon ride over the Mid Cornwall Metro route from Penryn to Newquay.

They will also be able to explore the changes as a pedestrian or cyclist using a gamepad and visualise the new improved pavement layout using an interactive media table.    

Working with delivery partners GWR and Network Rail, the new Mid Cornwall Metro coast to coast rail service will transform how residents travel across Cornwall. 

Upgrades to the current rail links between four of Cornwall’s largest towns: Newquay, St Austell, Truro, and Falmouth/Penryn, will help residents better connect to employment, education and key services. The rail improvements will be complemented by upgrades around the stations to make them more attractive gateways to the local area where people want to spend time and visit local shops and businesses. There will also be features to encourage walkers and cyclists, including new cycle parking, Beryl e-bike hire, widened paths and better crossing points. 

In Penryn, there will be improved pedestrian access to the railway station through the town centre and to and from the university. On Commercial Road pedestrians will be given priority with three zebra crossings. These improvements will provide better alternative access to the station and university, with these proposed changes being a catalyst for improving the public realm of Commercial Road and encouraging people to visit and spend more time there.

A new website, created for the project by the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, the non-profit partnership that works to promote branch lines and help deliver improvements on the railways, has also been launched and will provide regular updates.

£50m of government Levelling Up Funding is going towards the delivery of the £56.8 million Mid Cornwall Metro initiative. 

Rail Minister Huw Merriman said:

“These events are an excellent opportunity for local residents to see the sheer scale of the transport improvements to come through the Mid Cornwall Metro scheme – a project that has been made possible thanks to central and local Government funding.

“They demonstrate clearly our commitment to improving journeys across the region, and this vital infrastructure project is just one example of how we are working to make travelling cheaper, easier and quicker for everyone.”

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

“We’re looking forward to sharing this virtual reality experience with residents and hope to see as many as possible at the events.   

“The Mid Cornwall Metro underlines our commitment to provide 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 and the Government recognise the importance of this initiative to enable a levelling up of the local economy and future sustainable growth and investment in mid Cornwall. 

“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 second platform at Newquay Railway Station   
  • a new passing loop on the Newquay branch line at Tregoss Moor   
  • a doubling of the number of rail services between Newquay and Par – an extra 700,000 seats per year both ways   
  • a footbridge lift improving accessibility and interchange at Par Station   
  • upgrades to level crossings    
  • increased frequency of mainline services between Par, St Austell and Truro   
  • reduced journey times and less road congestion for people living along the route    
  • improved walking routes, links to the bus network and Beryl Bikes  
  • accessibility improvements at rail stations and to the public areas around those stations in Newquay, Roche, Bugle and Falmouth/Penryn   
  • ticket digitalisation – providing tap-on/tap-off ‘Pay-As-You-Go’ ticketing in Cornwall. 

Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council’s cabinet portfolio holder for the economy, said:

“This project will make a real difference to the everyday lives of people and create so many opportunities by better connecting communities to jobs, services, education, and each other, as well as providing economic benefits in allowing quicker, easier and more attractive access for commuters and visitors coming into the area.” 

Tom Pierpoint, GWR Business Development Portfolio Director, said:

“We really are opening up local connections across mid Cornwall through this project, giving better opportunities for people to access education, leisure, work and retail.”  

Alexander Maltby, Network Rail sponsor, said:

“We’re really pleased to be able to work with our partners to deliver this project and transform the railway in Cornwall. 

“When complete, Mid Cornwall Metro will help more people than ever before travel by train in the Duchy.”

Anyone unable to attend either of the Penryn events will be able to view the proposals and take part in an online survey on letstalk.cornwall.gov.uk from the end of February.

Take part in the online survey for proposed changes to the streetscape and public realm around Newquay Railway Station. The survey closes on 17 March.