5th January 2017
By Graham Smith
Commuter train services will not return to Bodmin any time soon, Cornwall Council has confirmed.
A confidential feasibility study, obtained and published by Cornwall Reports last month, draws attention to several technical, economic and policy hurdles which have to be overcome before passenger trains can once again run between Bodmin General and the main Bodmin Parkway stations.
The land on which the line sits is owned by Cornwall Council, leased to the Bodmin & Wenford heritage railway until 2048.
The feasibility study is currently forming the basis of discussions between the council – who first asked for it to be conducted – and the railway company.
The document, which had been with the Department for Transport since March 2016, has never been discussed by local councillors – even though the feasibility study was included in Great Western Railways’ franchise as a result of lobbying by Cornwall Council.
The council has today responded to some of the questions raised by the study:
Q: When will a report on commuter train services at Bodmin be brought before councillors?
A: There is no plan to take a report to Councillors at the current time as further feasibility work is required before any recommendations can be made.
Q: What talks, if any, have been held between the council and the Bodmin & Wenford Railway?
A: The aspiration to run a commuter service along the branchline has been discussed at wider meetings where representatives of the Bodmin and Wenford railway have been present.
Q: What recommendation will officials be making about how (or whether) to pursue the idea of restoring a commuter service, particularly in view of the threat (identified by GWR) to the council-subsidised bus service?
A: The next stage of work is to understand the costs of operating the service including rolling stock, staffing and maintenance. Cornwall Council will be discussing this with partners and establishing whether there is a joint commitment to embark on this next stage of work.
There does not appear to be a definitive timetable for progressing the project and it is not clear what level of priority – if any - it might enjoy after the Cornwall Council elections in May.