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Huge £3m track upgrade in Cornwall complete

The biggest track investment in Cornwall since the 1950s has been completed by Network Rail. Over the past five weeks, the track has been renewed on the St Ives Bay line between Carbis Bay and St Ives. Following the successful completion of work, the line reopened on the 8th February, with around 1.5 miles of new track and the installation of 3,600 new sleepers and over 400 tonnes of new ballast.

Network Rail engineers worked day and night to carry out the work and to lessen 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 in the county for over 60 years. Despite several challenges, particularly the severe weather Cornwall has faced over the past month, it is 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 on board.”

Mark Chorley, GWR Regional Station Manager, West, said: “We are pleased to resume train services on the St Ives Bay line after five weeks 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.”

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 an 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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