People in Cornwall will be able to take a virtual reality balloon ride to get a first ‘look’ at how the Mid Cornwall Metro will run between Falmouth and Newquay.

Over two days next week, Cornwall Council will be holding a drop-in event to show the work that will take place and the new facilities that will be on offer once complete.

The project, funded by Cornwall Council and £50m of government Levelling Up Funding, will involve upgrades to the current rail links between four of Cornwall’s largest towns and city: Newquay, St Austell, Truro, and Falmouth/Penryn.

The aim of the scheme is to help give residents better connections to employment, education and key services.

In addition to the rail upgrades, there will also be improvements made to each of the stations to make them more attractive to visit, as well as encourage walkers and cyclists, including new cycle parking, Beryl bike hire, widened paths and better crossing points.

The two-day public preview event will take place at the Hotel Victoria in Newquay on Friday, February 9 between 10am and 7pm, and again on Saturday, February 10 between 10am and 4pm.

Those unable to get to Newquay can attend another engagement event at the Stannary on the Falmouth and Exeter Universities’ Tremough Campus, Penryn on Friday, March 1 from 10am to 5pm and at the Temperance Hall in Lower Market Street, Penryn on Saturday, March 2 from 10am to 4pm.

Anyone visiting will be able to use virtual reality technology to take a balloon ride over the Mid Cornwall Metro route from Newquay to Penryn. They will also view a new second platform at Newquay - which will mean trains between Newquay and Par will double to hourly – as well as a new passing loop at Goss Moor, so local and national rail services can pass each other and operate together, seven days a week, all year round.

Also available to see will be the improvements at Par station, with a new accessible footbridge, lift and interchange.

There will be better facilities outside Penryn Station as well, with improved footpaths and cycle routes to make it easier to access the University campus. Access to Penryn town centre via Commercial Road, will see pedestrians given priority with three zebra crossings and a segregated cycle route to provide cyclists with a safer journey.

A new website, created for the project by the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, has also been launched and will provide regular updates The overall cost of the project will be £56.8 million, which includes £50m of government Levelling Up Funding.

The council and government are working with Great Western Railway (GWR) and Network Rail to make it reality.

Those behind the Mid Cornwall Metro say it will bring:

  • An hourly direct train service connecting Newquay, Par, St Austell, Truro, Penryn and Falmouth 
  • A second platform at Newquay Railway Station  A new passing loop on the Newquay branch line at Tregoss Moor 
  • A doubling of the number of rail services between Newquay and Par - an extra 700,000 seats per year both ways 
  • A footbridge lift improving accessibility and interchange at Par Station  Upgrades to level crossings  
  • Increased frequency of mainline services between Par, St Austell and Truro 
  • Reduced journey times and less road congestion for people living along the route  Improved walking routes, links to the bus network and Beryl Bikes
  • Accessibility improvements at rail stations and to the public areas around those stations in Newquay, Roche, Bugle and Falmouth/Penryn
  • Ticket digitalisation - providing tap-on/tap-off ‘Pay-As-You-Go’ ticketing in Cornwall.


Cllr Richard Williams-Pears, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for transport, said: "We’re looking forward to sharing this virtual reality experience with residents and hope to see as many as possible at the event.

“This initiative is absolutely key to delivering rail and active travel improvements across Cornwall both now and in the future, to enhance the lives of our residents by revolutionising how we can navigate across the Duchy. 

“It is an important next step in developing and improving the transport network to support more active lifestyles, offer a greener alternative, reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and alleviate traffic congestion by encouraging more people to leave the car and walk, cycle and use public transport instead. 

“As well as its green credentials and being a catalyst for economic growth and local regeneration around the stations, I see this as the beginning of a transport revolution for Cornwall with this being the Mid Cornwall section of the eventual Cornwall Metro." 

Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council’s cabinet portfolio holder for the economy, agreed: “This project will make a real difference to the everyday lives of people and create so many opportunities by better connecting communities to jobs, services, education, and each other, as well as providing economic benefits in allowing quicker, easier and more attractive access for commuters and visitors coming into the area.”