This weekend Network Rail will begin the core phase of work to change the way the railway is run in Cornwall.

Major work to install a modern signalling system throughout Cornwall will take place on Sunday (September 10) with a one-day closure of the main line between Plymouth and St Erth. This will be followed by further improvement work in October and November.

Network Rail will also start to upgrade the signalling east of Plymouth. Starting on Monday September 25, most work will be carried out overnight but will impact trains at the start and end of most days, including Great Western Railway’s Night Riviera sleeper service.

GWR said that, when complete, the new system should improve safety and reliability in the area and open up the potential for further improvements to rail services in the region.

Cornwall upgrades

The work in Cornwall will be completed in several stages this autumn, with further work also planned over Christmas and into next spring.

To allow this work to take place, buses will replace trains between these stations on the following dates:

• Sunday, September 10 – Plymouth and Penzance, including branch lines to Newquay and Falmouth Docks

• Tuesday, October 31 to Sunday 5 November 5 – St Austell and Penzance, including branch line to Falmouth Docks

• Monday, November 6 to Friday, November 10 – Liskeard and Penzance, including branch lines to Newquay and Falmouth Docks

• Saturday, November 11 and Sunday, November 12 – Plymouth and Penzance, including branch lines to Looe, Newquay and Falmouth Docks

Customers travelling in Cornwall at these times are reminded to check carefully before travelling. More information can be found at

Devon upgrades and the Night Riviera sleeper

Work in Devon will take place during several overnight closures from Monday, September 25 through to early 2024.

Buses will replace early morning/late night trains between Newton Abbot, Totnes and Plymouth while this work takes place.

These works will also affect the Night Riviera sleeper which will not be able to run between Mondays and Thursdays. Sleeper services will continue to operate on Friday and Sunday nights as well as some select days in recognition of the key role this train plays for customers enjoying a weekend in Cornwall or working the week in London.

The sleeper service will resume six nights a week as soon as completion of the work allows.

More information on these changes can be found at

READ NEXT: Council ‘not walking away’ from Cornwall airport - but not everyone's convinced

Paul Collyer, Network Rail sponsor, said: “This is the largest signalling investment in Devon and Cornwall for a generation and we are bringing the old signalling systems into the 21st century.

“Unfortunately we do need to cause some disruption to carry out this work, but once complete, passengers travelling into and around Cornwall will feel the benefits for years to come.”

Sharon Holloway, GWR station manager for West Cornwall, said: “We recognise that these works will be very disruptive for our customers, and we thank them in advance for their patience and understanding.

“This includes to our iconic sleeper service, and we look forward to being able to bring it back to a six-day-a-week service as soon as possible.

"We will be running an extensive replacement bus service on affected days to help keep passengers moving. However, journeys will take longer than normal so we recommend checking carefully.

“These upgrades will help to make our services in the region more reliable and allow scope for extra services to be added in the future.”