Derek Thomas MP has met representatives from Network Rail and Great Western Railway to discuss the future of the rail network in West Cornwall.
There is an extensive programme of modernisation for the rail link between Penzance and Paddington, with improvements to capacity and access, but some passengers have been concerned that the ticket office at Penzance station might be closed.
Derek has campaigned to keep Penzance ticket office open, and GWR have confirmed that it will not be closed. Any changes to the current situation – including staff working on the concourse, assisting in ticket sales and enquiries even if not behind ticket office screens – will be subject to a period of public consultation, and Penzance’s offer will be considered individually.
“This is great news, and I’d like to thank everyone who responded to my survey, which meant I could demonstrate the importance of a ticket office here in Penzance.
“More journeys than ever are booked online, but face-to-face sales are vital for stations like Penzance that have tourists and non-regular commuters.”
Derek also saw progress on the £6.55m project to install new, longer sidings – effectively laybys for trains – and met with rail workers installing the new sidings in the Ponsandane area of Penzance. These sidings will enable GWR to service and run longer, nine-carriage trains between London Paddington and Penzance. The project will provide a dedicated place for the trains to be stored, cleaned and prepared before re-entering service.
“I’ve followed progress at the sidings as I have crossed over to the beach, but I was glad of the opportunity to fully grasp the significance of this development.
“The fact that these sidings are needed to accommodate the new 9 car trains demonstrates the continued commitment of Government and Network Rail to our end of the rail network.”
And Derek got an update on the new footbridge and lifts being installed in St Erth, making St Erth into a fully step-free station. The project is part of the Government’s Access for All programme and is the latest in a series of recent investments in the St Erth to St Ives branch line.
“I’m part of a group looking to develop low carbon transport options across Penwith and making it possible for everyone to use St Erth takes a big step forward (if you’ll excuse the pun).
“The huge growth in passenger numbers at St Erth Station is brilliant - it is even more so that now everyone will soon have this option.”