People living in Falmouth and Penryn have had the chance to look at plans to upgrade current rail links between four of Cornwall’s largest towns and cities – and there was even the chance to take a virtual balloon ride along the route.

Falmouth Packet: The event was well attendedThe event was well attended (Image: Paul Armstrong)

The second of three events in the area was held at the Stannary on Tremough Campus, Penryn today with another event being held Temperance Hall in Lower Market Street, in the centre of Penryn, tomorrow, Saturday, March 2 from 10am to 4pm.

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

Falmouth Packet: An example of the proposals for the southern gateway to Commercial RoadAn example of the proposals for the southern gateway to Commercial Road (Image: Metro Scheme)

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.

This include proposals to upgrade the outside Penryn Station, with improved footpaths and cycle routes to make it easier to access the university campus at Tremough.

Falmouth Packet: The proposals on displayThe proposals on display (Image: Paul Armstrong)

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, with the metro project intended to kickstart the further generation of Commercial Road.

Traders in the road have expressed concerns about the loss of parking spaces putting people off from using their business.

However Mark Nicholson told the Packet that was not the intention at all. “There’s a variety of trade,” he said “and of course nothing we are doing here is about cutting across their trading abilities. All we are about is making it a more pleasant area to shop and for people who don’t necessarily want to come in by car.

Falmouth Packet: An example of the proposals for the northern gateway to Commercial RoadAn example of the proposals for the northern gateway to Commercial Road (Image: Metro Project)

“We understand that they need all their delivery vehicles. We’ve reassured them that we’re not about creating problems from that point of view, just in making Commercial Road a nicer space to be in should bring in other people.”

He said the first public day in Penryn very popular with some “really grown-up polite” conversations about it.

“Everyone’s come with a different aspect,” he said. “They might be potential user or might just care about it because they live in the area.

“Everyone has a different point to make and we’ve tried to gather people who can give them answers to specific queries.”

The thing creating most buzz at the event was the virtual balloon ride which gives the feeling of taking feel like your flying over the whole route from Penryn to Newquay shows improvements along the way.

People will be able to travel directly from Falmouth to Newquay with one train every hour from Fal to Newquay.

Mr Nicholson said while the rail link work will definitely go-ahead, the other improvements are subject to public consultation.

Falmouth Packet: A computer generated image of the proposal at the Mylor turnA computer generated image of the proposal at the Mylor turn (Image: Metro Project)

He said it was also a chance to improve the whole area. He said they had been talking to a lot of traders in Commercial Road and again in Penryn tomorrow (Saturday) they would be talking to traders in the main street.

“It’s a chance to say is there any way to make this area more attractive for a visit?,” he said “and the connection between Commercial Road and the railway station is something we are looking at in great detail.

“Funding in place for Metro is all in place and will happen as the funding is all in place. The consultations are all about access to the station and whether you can do that in a more active way, the layout of streetscape and parking areas.

People who can’t make the public events can also give their input at the website letstalkcornwall

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.