More trains, more seats and faster journeys planned for the South West

This summer will see Great Western Railway (GWR) start to deliver new trains, more seats, and in time more frequent services across the South West.

This summer will see Great Western Railway (GWR) start to deliver new trains, more seats, and in time more frequent services across the South West.

New Intercity Express Trains specifically designed for Devon and Cornwall will bring up to 24% more seats than the High Speed Train it replaces and reduce journeys to and from Penzance to London by up 14 minutes.

To achieve this Network Rail will close the railway west of Truro to Penzance, including the St Ives Line, between Monday 19 and Thursday 22 March and buses will replace trains. Trains will continue to operate between Truro and London Paddington and on the Falmouth Branch Line.

Two buses an hour between Truro and Penzance. One fast, stopping at St Erth only and one calling at all intermediate stations.

Two buses an hour between St Erth and St Ives. One stopping at Lelant Saltings only. The other calling at Lelant Saltings and Carbis Bay. Some of these will also call at Lelant.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:

“Just last month we saw the first two of our brand new Intercity Express Trains for Devon and Cornwall roll off the production line at Hitachi’s factory in Italy. This summer they will start to enter service, delivering a step change in passenger transport.

“To take advantage of the full benefits these trains will offer and to increase the number of services we operate, Network will be renewing its signalling systems in Cornwall and this will impact some customer’s journeys.

“Thank you in advance for your patience while Network conducts this vital work, and please do remember to check before you travel.”

Part of the Railway Upgrade Plan, Network Rail will progress signal upgrade works, track renewals, and will also cap a mine shaft at Scorrier, near Redruth to improve the reliability and resilience of the railway.

Network Rail Route Managing Director Mark Langman said:

“Passengers in Devon and Cornwall will benefit from more frequent services and a more reliable railway as we continue to deliver our Railway Upgrade Plan. These improvements not only benefit passengers but also support local communities and enable the growth of the local economy.

“Upgrades to the signalling and to stations in the South West means GWR will be able to run an additional train every hour between Penzance and Plymouth from January 2019, which will transform rail travel in the South West.

“We have worked closely with GWR to minimise disruption. However, I would like to thank passengers for their patience while we undertake these upgrade works.”

When complete the Cornwall re-signalling scheme, alongside the delivery of new Intercity Express Trains, will enable GWR double the number of trains into and out of Cornwall.

Long distance services from London Paddington to Devon and Cornwall will continue to operate but will terminate at Truro.

Replacement buses will connect with trains, extending journey times by approximately 30 minutes on average. Some train departure times will also be changed, and passengers are advised to check before they travel.

For further travel advice and information on the work please visit

Newbury upgrade works

Long distance customers are also being reminded of other Network Rail works taking place at present (Monday 12 to Thursday 15 March), and on subsequent weekdays during the spring and summer. This work does not coincide with the closure between Truro and Penzance.

To enable Network Rail to electrify the railway between Reading and Newbury, services between London Paddington and Cornwall will run via a different route; some services will leave London, and Reading, at different times and journeys may be up to 30 minutes longer.

For further information please visit:  

Notes to editors

Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.

We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR is a FirstGroup company.

*Seat increased based on a like-for-like replacement of High Speed Trains for new Intercity Express Trains. Final 2019 timetables subject to agreement by Network Rail.

Contact Information

James Davis

Media Relations Manager

Great Western Railway

0845 410 4444

07703 890 711