Works to improve the railway in West Cornwall begin this Saturday, with amended train services and replacement buses in operation to keep people moving.

Network Rail will undertake track work in Penzance on Saturday and Sunday, December 5 and 6, affecting services between Penzance and St Erth.

This will then extend to include between Penzance and Truro, and the St Ives Bay line, from Monday (December 7) to Thursday (December 10).

It could have a knock-on effect to the Falmouth branch line, where services will continue to run but up to ten minutes earlier than normal.

Where the main line remains open, amended train services will operate through Cornwall towards Plymouth with roughly one train per hour in each direction.

Buses will replace trains from Penzance to St Erth this weekend and from Penzance to Truro next week, with buses also running between St Erth and St Ives from December 7 to 10.

Long-distance services from London Paddington to Devon and most of Cornwall will continue to operate. Replacement buses will connect with trains, adding up to 50 minutes to journey times. Some train departure times will also be changed, and passengers are advised to check beforehand.

GWR continues to operate just over 90 per cent of its pre-Covid train timetable, but to allow for train travellers to be able to socially distance with ease, the operator is asking those intending to travel to plan ahead and check journey times beforehand.

Mark Chorley, GWR regional station manager for the west, said: “We have been working hard to make sure that people can be confident to travel safely, and that includes running as many trains and carriages as we can to make extra room, and replacement buses where trains cannot operate, as well as enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures. 

“This work is important to ensure we can continue to maintain and improve reliability and we thank customers for their patience in advance.”

Lee Hildreth, Network Rail’s project manager, said: “We thank passengers in advance while we carry out these vital upgrades across Cornwall and remind them to check before they travel.

“The improvements will help provide passengers with more reliable journeys and represents further investment in the railway in Cornwall following recent signalling upgrades in the South West.”