Work of the Taskforce

Key campaign objectives that have been achieved or are in the pipeline include:

Dawlish sea wall: In February 2019, five years after the line collapsed at Dawlish, the Government confirmed funding for phase one of resilience works. This is scheduled for completion in Spring 2020. Whilst this is a positive step for resilience along the line, the PRTF will continue to campaign for essential works along the Parsons Tunnel to Teignmouth section and to secure government funding for the project.

Cowley Bridge: The railway was shut 24 times from 2011 to 2018 due to flooding between Exeter and Bristol. In Autumn 2018, Network Rail completed work to the storm drains at Cowley Bridge as part of its flood alleviation project. The project has significantly reduced the likelihood of the river flooding onto the track and washing away ballast. 

Signalling enhancements Penzance – Totnes: Phase one of this project was completed in 2018. The project is designed to improve reliability and enable an increase in services, with timetabled services increasing in 2019. 

Timetable changes: Following slippage from January 2019, a phased introduction of timetable improvements across the South West Peninsula commenced in May 2019 to coincide with the commissioning of the last remaining Inter-City Express Bi-Mode trains being delivered to Great Western Railway. This included a doubling of services between Plymouth and Penzance and longer trains on a number of those services. Further changes to the timetable from December 2019, will see the introduction of a clock-face half-hourly service between Penzance and Plymouth. This will speed up services between Plymouth and London to provide a standard 3-hour 12 minute journey throughout the day, and 2-hourly additional stopping services between Paddington and Exeter. These timetable changes will be the largest shake-up on the network since 1976.

Night Riviera Service: In 2019, £14m was invested in increasing the capacity and also the quality of the sleeper service between Paddington and Penzance. This was soon followed by the introduction of the upgraded sleeper lounges at Penzance and Truro.

Penzance depot: 2018 saw the completion of £19m worth of enhancements to create the  Penzance Traincare Centre, enhancing the maintenance facilities for both the new Inter-City Express Trains as well as the rolling stock used on the Night Riviera Service.