Signal upgrade set to modernise Cornwall’s railway

Network Rail have begun the core phase of work to change the way the railway is run in Cornwall.

Signalling outside Truro station

Credit: Network Rail

Major work to install a modern signalling system throughout Cornwall will take place on 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 25 September, 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. When complete, the new system will improve safety and reliability in the area and open up the potential for further improvements to rail services in the region.

The work in Cornwall will be completed in several stages this autumn, with further work also planned over Christmas and into next spring. Work in Devon will take place during several overnight closures from 25 September through to early 2024.

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.

“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,” Paul Collyer, Network Rail sponsor, said. “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.”

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