Latest update on rail travel to and from Cornwall

Network Rail report (Thursday afternoon)

To date, we haven’t been able to do a full inspection of the route – today our priority is to protect what we have.

As the week goes on we will be able to make a better assessment of the railway.

However, we made progress overnight and set up a project compound, and a plant started to arrive. There’s a site meeting between 8-9 today. After which more information will be known.

The tide overnight caused no more damage and the conditions are more stable today. We are looking at whether we can spray liquid concrete onto the under cliff of the houses to create some stabilisation before poor weather returns at the weekend – you’ll be aware that there is a storm forecast for Saturday pm.

Network Rail and its engineering teams are dealing with individual weather related causes along over 100 miles of railway between Exeter and Penzance. In addition, we have the need to finalise works at the Whiteball tunnel possession between Exeter and Taunton to ensure timely restoration of normal working from 0500 Monday 10th February.

The line between Exeter St David’s and Newton Abbot is not expected to reopen before 18th March 2014. However, Network Rail will not commit themselves to any provisional date until the further storms forecast for the next few days have passed through. The situation will be reassessed on Monday 10th February.

Cowley Bridge update:

The route through Cowley Bridge has been identified as a vulnerable area. Network Rail have advised that the current situation is that services are operating normally at the moment – there is a risk but is currently below the trigger point for a flood alert. NR are also looking at forecasts for rainfall on Saturday but at present, their prediction is that it will not flood. However, if there was 50mm of rain then this projection could change, NR are monitoring the situation as it develops, NR are in hourly contact with the Environment Agency.  


First Great Western :

Road/Bus provision is in the process of being enhanced and will improve as the day progresses from the original on the day emergency bus replacement service to the more robust planned bus/coach replacement service that is in place during planned line closures. Objective: Fast coach Taunton/Exeter to Plymouth for longer distance passengers. Slower bus for intermediate stations Exeter – Dawlish. FGW Operations Director providing regular updates to Rail Commercial and FGW are working closely with Cross Country.

Bus Timetable for Thursday 6th February with similar pattern being applied for Friday 7th February, Saturday 8th February and Sunday 9th February. (Once the Whiteball Tunnel Possession is finished, extra coaches will be available to operate between Taunton/Exeter and Plymouth. Further detail will be provided when FGW have finalised their rail replacement plans from Monday 10th February onwards). Early estimates suggest that up to 100 coaches will be provided

These will also be available on National Rail Enquiries and First Great Western Website.  

Emergency timetables for the parts of the route that are open (Plymouth to Penzance) are published on National Rail Enquiries and FGW Website.

Major disruption to First Great Western and CrossCountry trains, with an amended service operating between Taunton and Penzance.

First Great Western

  • No trains are running between Exeter St Davids and Plymouth. 
  • A limited train service is running between Plymouth and Penzance
  • High Speed Services between London Paddington and Exeter St Davids will run to their normal timetable, (although please note diversions via Honiton and Yeovil until Sunday evening due to planned engineering work at Whiteball tunnel between Exeter and Taunton).
  • Wednesday 5 February sleeper services have been cancelled
  • A reduced service is running between Truro and Falmouth Docks (trains leave Truro to Falmouth at 20 minutes past the hour and trains leave Falmouth Docks to Truro at 50 minutes past the hour)
  • Trains between Newton Abbot and Paignton are expected to resume from approximately 12:00. There is no replacement road transport on this route.
  • No trains or alternative transport is able to run between Newquay and Par

Extract from First Great Western Website

The line remains closed between Exeter St Davids and Plymouth. However, the line between Plymouth and Penzance has reopened to permit us to operate limited services. We are operating a limited road transport shuttle service between Exeter St Davids and Plymouth. Services between Newton Abbot and Paignton are due to start again about midday.

Trains are running on the following routes – but may be subject to minor delays

  • Gunnislake – Plymouth
  • Liskeard – Looe
  • St Ives – St Erth


  • A limited service is running between Plymouth and Penzance
  • An hourly direct bus service will run between Taunton and Plymouth
  • Tickets for travel dated today, Thursday 6 February will be valid for travel tomorrow
  • Passengers may travel on earlier trains if they choose to do so

Major damage has been caused by the poor weather and rough seas to parts of the track and sea wall at Dawlish.

Some pictures of the damage can be seen on our facebook page here.

Pictures of the rough seas from Network Rail’s twitter feed can be seen herehere and here.

You can follow this incident and get the latest updates by using Twitter hashtag: #Dawlish

First Great Western are advising passengers not to travel west of Exeter St Davids.

Alternative routes where tickets will be accepted

  • First Great Western and CrossCountry passengers may also use Stagecoach South West buses on reasonable routes
  • First Great Western and CrossCountry have mutual ticket acceptance between Exeter St Davids and Penzance
  • First Great Western passengers may use South West Trains services between Exeter and London Waterloo