An ambitious project to create a direct link connecting Falmouth and Newquay has been awarded almost £50 million of funding.

The Mid Cornwall Metro scheme is the only successful bid out of four to be submitted by Cornwall Council for Levelling Up funding from the government.

It has received £49.95m to develop a scheme with Great Western Railway and Network Rail.

However, not everyone was pleased with the decision - including the town's own mayor. 

READ MORE: Falmouth mayor says £50m for rail link 'total waste' of money

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

Works to be carried out will 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 will 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.

It had previously been hoped that if the bid was successful then new services could start by June 2024, with all works completed by March 2025. However, a delay from the anticipated decision last autumn to today’s announcement may mean the dates are set back.

The aim of the project is to provide:

- An hourly direct service connecting Newquay, Par, St Austell, Truro, Penryn and Falmouth;

- Doubling of services 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.

Cornwall Council had put forward four bids for Levelling Up cash.

The others, which proved unsuccessful included a project to rejuvenate Helston town centre.

The bid from the Helston Place Shaping Board was for three projects:

Helston Gateway – the refurbishment of the derelict Co-op/Budgens building as a multipurpose community enterprise with workspace, leisure facilities for young people, café and learning kitchen.

Helston Cultural Quarter – the revitalisation of Helston’s historic cultural district, increasing visits to cultural venues like the Museum of Cornish Life and CAST (Cornubian Arts and Science Trust), and supporting creative enterprise.

Connecting Helston - a series of transport improvements to liberate the town centre from vehicle congestion, transform its entry points and streetscape, activating a shift from car to active travel.

A bid for funding for the Stadium for Cornwall was later withdrawn due to the rules set down by the Government for the cash, while a bid for a town centre regeneration project in St Austell was also subsequently dropped.