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Bodmin & Wenford Railway successfully secure funding towards second platform project

A scheme to create a new platform at Bodmin General to allow for extra train services is among seven schemes awarded total funding of over £215,000 from Great Western Railway today, as the train operator announces the winners of its community improvement fund.

Designed to help boost the local economy, GWR invited bids from its Customer and Communities Improvement Fund (CCIF) last Summer, and today seven Cornwall area winners have been revealed, including funding to revitalise a children’s park, and the provision of bus information at railway stations across the county. With match funding, the total investment being made in the Cornwall community will top £398,000.

Welcoming the award of £54,000 Bodmin & Wenford Railway’s Nick Wood said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this funding from the GWR CCIF. It marks a significant contribution and brings to life our exciting, long held plans to develop Bodmin General station.

“The creation of the second platform will enable the BWR to offer increased services and enhance our visitor experience, especially during the peak Summer season and at Christmas. The design is in keeping with the railway’s GWR heritage pedigree and the conservation area.

“We believe this ambitious project will enhance our railway today and prepare us for the future, while retaining and celebrating our heritage past. We look forward to working with GWR and Cornwall Council over the coming year to deliver this project.”

Cabinet Member for Transport, Cornwall Council Cllr Geoff Brown, added: “I am delighted that we have secured funding to carry out a feasibility study aimed at delivering a second platform at Bodmin and Wenford station which will enhance rail links from the town direct to the mainline services. We will continue to work with both the heritage railway and GWR to deliver this improvement.”

North Cornwall MP Scott Mann said: “Reconnecting Bodmin General with the mainline is something my constituents have called for since I was first elected in 2015, so I am delighted to have been a part of delivering this new feasibility study from GWR. This will be the latest part of a scheme to upgrade North Cornwall’s rail infrastructure and will go hand in hand with the new Intercity Express Trains running from Cornwall to London.”

Leigh Frost, Cornwall Councillor said, “Improving Bodmin’s infrastructure has always been a priority of mine, and being able to work with Bodmin and Wenford Railway on this has been a privilege. Together, not only have we secured Bodmin a vital service but future proofed one of its most popular attractions. I am really delighted that they have won this grant.”

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: “We at GWR recognise only too well the vital role that rail plays in local and the national economy, and I am delighted that we have been able to continue to support the communities we serve with this funding.

“This year’s entrants include a wide and staggering range of projects, many showing the innovation that the area has become renowned for, and I look forward to them all coming to fruition.”

All the proposals were presented to a panel of representatives from GWR’s Customer Panel (made up of local customers), the Advisory Board (made up of local stakeholders), and the executive management team. Final recommendations were then put to the Department for Transport (DfT) for approval.

Supported by the DfT, the Customer and Communities Improvement Fund (CCIF) was established to recognise and back projects identified by the communities where GWR operates, with projects requiring local authority match funding.

The six other community projects in Cornwall to win funding are:

  • North Cornwall Railway Heritage Play Areas: £35,057: Breathe new life into a play area while promoting the heritage of Camelford Station. As the play area in Enfield Park is in dire need of refurbishment, the Town Council thought it a wonderful opportunity to breathe new life into the play area while promoting the heritage of Camelford Station, which was once part of the historic North Cornwall Railway line. This will be done by installing a wonderful train play structure and incorporating all 13 station signs (from Halwill Junction to Padstow) into a new adventure trail.
  • Saltash Station Refurbishment Project: £40,000: Saltash Town Council purchased the disused station building at Saltash in June 2017 in response to widespread demand and support from the local community and well beyond. The former station building had laid in a near derelict state for a number of years. In its heyday, Saltash Station and its building was one of the busiest in Cornwall and the building is close to the heart of the people of Saltash. With financial support from GWR, Cornwall Council, and the Railway Heritage Trust, they are well on the way to securing the buildings future and refurbishment.
  • St Ives Station Pedestrian Signage and Way Marking: £5,000: For passengers embarking and disembarking pedestrian signage and way marking is currently poor. Access to St Ives station from the town is through a well-used public car park, which can lead to conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles and takes away from the sense of arrival. There is an alternative access to the town via some steps down to The Warren which provides an alternative scenic walk. These steps are close to the station but well hidden from arriving pedestrians. There is also disabled access to The Warren via a path behind the station which is not well signed. This project will provide improved signage and way marking to encourage pedestrians to use a safer and more accessible route into the town.
  • Looe Valley Line Heritage centre: £40,000: Create a heritage centre in the 1901 Liskeard & Looe Railway building (platform 3) at Liskeard.
    Turn Platform 3 rooms into a professionally done, modest sized heritage centre to allow for the display of information, show videos. It would also open up the old ticket office (which still has the ticket window and hatch) to the public and make a real feature of it. This room is currently used as a store.
  • Penzance Station onward connectivity: £15,900: Penzance station is the gateway to the town and far west Cornwall. It is served by at least 25 trains per day in each direction and from 2019 will see two trains per hour. The station is co-located with the bus station; and the coastal path to Marazion runs along the back of the station car park accessed via the bus station, but the layout is poor. The proposal includes: a new link to multi-use path through station car park; improved wayfinding to the path; improved signage to the bus station and town centre; extend platform 4 heritage fencing along the old motor raildock to replace existing fencing. There is also potential to provide cycle docking facilities on disused rail land.
  • Public Transport RTPI at Mainline Stations: £26,500: Provide bus real time information at key stations as part of One Public Transport System for Cornwall. The delivery of the new rail timetable providing two trains per hour on the mainline in Cornwall presents much improved opportunities for encouraging bus use to/from rail stations at the start/end of journeys. A new bus network has been developed with this in mind and 2tph are positively anticipated as the trigger to maximise the benefits of these significant improvements for customers.

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