A bid to create a new direct rail link connecting Falmouth and Newquay has been officially submitted to get money from the Government’s Levelling Up fund.

It says that the Mid Cornwall Metro project between Cornwall Council, Great Western Railway and Network Rail would be a major improvement to rail services in Cornwall.

Cornwall Council submitted a bid for almost £50million for the scheme for consideration in round two of the Levelling Up fund, which is providing around £4.8billion for schemes across the country. The deadline for bids closed earlier this week.

The total cost of the project would be £56.8m with the remainder of the funding coming from various organisations including £2.71m from Cornwall Council.

Works to be carried out would include: a new platform at Newquay Station; a new passing loop at Tregoss Moor; upgraded level crossings; new signalling at Goonbarrow; a new accessible lift bridge at Par Station; extended platforms at Falmouth stations; infrastructure at Newquay, Roche, Bugle, Penryn and Falmouth stations; digitalisation of rail ticketing.

The project would provide a direct link between Falmouth and Newquay. Currently rail passengers from Falmouth have to change at both Truro and Par in order to get to Newquay.

Subject to funding decisions it is hoped that new services could start by June 2024 with all works completed by March 2025.

If it goes ahead it is hoped the project will result in:

  • Hourly direct service connecting Newquay, Par, St Austell, Truro, Penryn and Falmouth;
  • Doubling of services from Newquay to Par – an extra 700,000 seats per year both ways;
  • All year local services; Local and long-distance services operating concurrently along the Newquay branch;
  • Summer mid-week, additional daily Newquay to London services;
  • Increased frequency of mainline rail services between Par, St Austell and Truro;
  • Improved accessibility and interchange at Par Station;
  • Potential 25% increased capacity between Truro and Falmouth.

The submission for Levelling Up funding is the second transport project to have been put forward for consideration, after Cornwall Council supported a successful bid by the Council of the Isles of Scilly to secure funding for new ships to serve the islands in the first round of Levelling Up funding.

It had previously been suggested that Cornwall Council would be submitting a bid for funding for the Stadium for Cornwall, but that has since been withdrawn due to the rules set down by the Government for the cash. A bid for a town centre regeneration project in St Austell was also dropped.

However, a project for the rejuvenation of Helston town centre has been included in Cornwall Council’s submissions for round two of Levelling Up. It is not known when a decision will be made on which applications have been successful, but it is expected to be around the autumn.