Why don't through trains run to Cornish branches?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Masboroughlad, 8 Aug 2018.

  1. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Member

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    Not numbered & not used. Don’t think it would even fit a 153!
     
  2. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    That's fine, as for St Ives, Penzance is the major city destination

    For Looe, the major city destination/origin of passengers (other than London etc) will be Plymouth. Indeed the train that operates the Looe Shuttle comes from Plymouth in the first place (or certainly did when I did the journey from Plymouth to Looe last summer)
     
  3. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think one of the problems Newquay has is what's at the other end of the branch which is Par which isn't much more than a small village really. Whilst Falmouth has Truro at the other end which is the County Town of Cornwall with all sorts of things that would therefore attract people as well as Falmouth itself being a reasonably sized place (larger than Truro at the last census) so you'll get plenty of traffic between the two. Newquay is a similar size to Falmouth and Truro but with only Par at the other end realistic the only traffic your ever likely to see is for people changing for onward services. Even a half-hourly service, whilst it might stimulate demand, I doubt would be as successful as the Falmouth branch has been.

    This isn't to say that nothing should be done as it very clearly should be! At the very least the trains that do run need to connect to services to Plymouth and Truro but I suppose it's just to temper expectations as I'm not sure it will ever manage the success that the Falmouth branch has managed simply due to the geography of the area that it serves.
     
  4. Western Lord

    Western Lord Member

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    Which is why it would be better if it ran from St. Austell via a reinstated Burngullow Jn. - St. Dennis Jn. line, as discussed in other posts.
     
  5. Phil H

    Phil H Member

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    Currently staying in Hayle and the train service isn't great as I missed the 12.34 and would have been two hours before the next service to St Erth so just drove to Carbis Bay.
    However Hayle only has a car park for a dozen or so cars and you'd need to build a car park somewhere. There is some land under the viaduct opposite Asda that could be used but it may already be earmarked for other uses.
    At St Erth, the car park seems to be under development, but again can anyone confirm.

    The St Erth to St Ives service is as intensive as it can get as the 150x2 is back and forth all day with little dwell at each end. No way you could get anything to fit in and the junction with the mainline points West.
     
  6. InterCity:125

    InterCity:125 Member

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    Isn’t lelant saltings a P&R for st ives?
     

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  7. Phil H

    Phil H Member

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    You are correct, however the sign outside said car park said "FULL" so that was a no no.
    Also there is a notice at St Erth that says regarding improving punctuality, certain services don't stop at Lelant Saltings or Carbis Bay.
     
    Last edited: 10 Aug 2018
  8. 4141

    4141 Member

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    I've always found it more convenient to park at St Erth and get the St Ives train there rather than at Lelant P & R...
     
  9. TEW

    TEW Established Member

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    Even if the connections were good to Truro, the train will never compete with the bus between Newquay and Truro. The bus services are more frequent and quicker. The slow journey times on the Newquay branch really hold it back when it comes to local traffic.
     
  10. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Member

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    The plan is to make St Erth the P&R stop rather than Lelant Saltings. But the car park expansion is required first, which has been ongoing for quite some time! If it gets finished, I suspect more service to omit Lelant Saltings as a result.
     
  11. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    No problems. I had a family holiday in Falmouth in the early 70s, when all trains terminated at what is now Town, and I hadn't realised that a through train had been reinstated when Docks reopened later. Load 6 makes sense for 1977 when attaching a portion at Plymouth was still routine.
     
  12. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    St Ives was a complete train (the Cornish Riviera no less, with RCs) worked by a pair of 45xx tanks on the branch.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 10 Aug 2018
  13. 4141

    4141 Member

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  14. the Rat

    the Rat Member

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    I think topography is the key point about the Newquay branch. According to the AA it's 16.5 miles from St Austell to Newquay by road, maybe 30 minutes by car, whereas the fastest train takes
    50 minutes from Par - that's an average speed of just 20MPH. Very difficult to persuade people not to use the road.
     
  15. Parallel

    Parallel Established Member

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    I would have thought a Newquay - Plymouth service would be the best thing to do with what is currently available, also stopping at the Plymouth suburban stations as has already been mentioned. One thing I would propose would be more longer distance services on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays though, to/from places like Bristol & Cardiff, and maybe a couple of token ones from/to Paddington and the North, as it would encourage more long distance traffic for weekend breaks (which is what Newquay seems very popular for).

    In an ideal world, the branch would be sped up a little, with new track towards St Austell. Maybe 1tp2h Newquay - St. Austell/Truro, And 1tp2h Newquay - Par/Plymouth, giving an overall service from Newquay to the mainline 1tph.

    ——
    Not Cornwall but I think the Exmouth line has the same issue as Falmouth. Intensive service with only 1 passing loop.
     
  16. Justapunter

    Justapunter Member

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    I used Truro to Penzance earlier this year. For a day trip. I was staying in Watergate Bay. The early morning service times and returns were so poor from Newquay you couldn't get to Penzance before mid lunchtime (about a three hour journey) and a ridiculously long one back.

    The trains are no use at all for regular service users, even with the new town that's been built near Quintrell Downs. The service just doesn't work. So no one really uses it.
     
  17. Justapunter

    Justapunter Member

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    To add, it’s about an hour to drive to Penzance from WG (43 miles). No one in their right mind would train it (I trained it from Truro because I like train travel and because I was hoping for a nice relaxing trip - I got a grotty 150/2 with seat squabs that still all fell off like they did back in the 1980s when they were introduced). It was slow, smelly and worn out. Cornwall is supposed to be a premier tourist destination to attract people from worldwide. The transport is generally rubbish (bus network around Newquay aside seemingly) as everyone drives because there is no practical alternative. When there are trains they are mostly life expired, non AC, vibey old lumps...
     
  18. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    It needs work, however ince my father stopped driving, Cornwall is one of the easiest places to get around by public transport. We base ourselves at Penzance and reach all over the county, mainly by train, but also with some bus connections.
     
  19. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    Local travel by rail from Newquay is unlikely now and, let's be honest, forever.

    Even with a significantly improved service, there isn't anywhere to serve. The local stations are tiny villages (except maybe Indian Queens), Par and Bodmin Parkway are poorly located stations, Lostwithiel is tiny and Liskeard and Plymouth are a very long way away for the locals to be travelling to.

    You could close Par station and divert the service to St Austell with some rebuilding work, which would be about the only useful link. Even then journey time would still be deeply unattractive. There are a hundred and one better ways even just in Cornwall to spend that kind of money.
     
  20. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    I agree. Even if you were to rebuild the Burngullow route (are you suggesting that, or a West curve at Par?), from Newquay to Truro city centre (not the station!) would still be quicker by bus, and to points East wouldn't be much faster than at present. This leaves Newquay to St Austell local traffic to benefit significantly.

    Realistically, the branch's future has to depend on long distance leisure travel, plus the day trip market from Plymouth, much as now. A second train on the branch would be desirable (but would it pay outside the holidays?), and obviously accessability at Par isn't ideal, but that's about it.
     
  21. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    Never mind train lengths, track layouts etc.

    There are four branches entirely within Cornwall. You've then also got Penzance. Add in the Tamar branch as well, that's six destinations to serve west of Plymouth.

    So what's your service pattern here? Where are these services going to come from? How are you timetabling them across the Tamar?

    On a normal weekday or Saturday, how many GWR services from London terminate at Plymouth? How many XC services terminate there? Are they spaced in a way that would make sense as a timetable? How many extra trains would be needed to diagram them if they're not being turned around at Plymouth?

    Alternatively, if you take Penzance terminators, how are you fixing the service to the big inland towns of Cornwall?
     
  22. uglymonkey

    uglymonkey Member

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    And don't forget the "Atlantic Coast Express" through coaches to Waterloo , without changing - ahhh Progress....:) Cleethorpes I think was the only actual full train that ran long distance from Exmouth on occasion, although I remember travelling on a "excursion" to London when I was very young - a full train not just a branch train with add on through coaches.
     
  23. RPI

    RPI Member

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    Let's not forget how poor the normal service was on the Newquay under BR/Wessex when there were 4 trains per day (except for the high summer 6 weeks), with a gap between 14:52 and 20:01 from Newquay. The current service is probably about the best it can be with the current infrastructure although an earlier service from Newquay could be added. The main traffic is long distance and you sell very few tickets to and from the intermediate stations.
     
  24. jimm

    jimm Established Member

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    As well as topography, it's the fact that the origins of much of the line are horse-drawn tramways built to move china clay, so they weren't built with fast passenger services in mind.

    Outside the holiday season, so few people use some of the branch trains it would often be cheaper to put them all in taxis, never mind doubling the number of branch trains and crew needed to operate it. I'm sure that if FGW/GWR could have seen a way to do anything to boost business year-round, it would have done it a long time ago but the journey time and location of the junction with the main line make that impossible.
     
  25. MarkyT

    MarkyT Established Member

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    Leland Saltings station should close entirely, reducing journey time and thus increasing turnround margin at one or other terminus, hence increasing reliability and saving a little energy and some brake wear.
     
  26. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Member

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    That would be sensible, and may make some more Carbis Bay stops possible too
     
  27. Chrisgr31

    Chrisgr31 Established Member

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    Isnt one of the problems with Newquay the airport? We stayed near Newquay recently and my daughter decided she wanted a friend to join her for the second week. The friend flew from Gatwick to Newquay arriving Saturday evening. Flight time was an hour and the cost £69. Coming by train there would be the need to cross London by tube, a journey time of over 6 hours, and a fare of £112.

    Newquay Airport is served by more UK airports than Gatwick and Heathrow combined apparently so wont a fair few people fly. I am not sure what connection from Newquay Airport to the train station there is, but that might be the key to improving Newquay rail services, a regular service to other west country destinations.
     
  28. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Member

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    Unless you live by Gatwick, there is still need a need to cross London by tube for the flight. But certainly the journey time is quicker. But it depends where you live in the country as to how much faster, if you live closer to an airport than a station. By the time I have got to an airport, checked in etc, I could be three quarters of the way to Newquay by train. Plus there are several trains I could get, but only two flights.

    Certainly it is cheaper and easier for a lot of people, but not everyone. But then I think Newquay station does alright out of long distance traffic, it is the local services that few use, due to the lack of places to go.
     
  29. MarkyT

    MarkyT Established Member

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    Must admit I'd not really looked closely at stopping patterns on the St Ives branch before. They seem rather random! A unit with better acceleration performance might help, then with Saltings closed perhaps all trains could have a standard pattern while keeping a nice 30 minute interval clock-face service. A cl.230 perhaps?
     
  30. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Member

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    The reason is timekeeping, They can't call at Carbis Bay on both out and back trips on a round trip, so they call on only one. Basically therefore Carbis Bay gets an hourly service
     

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