UK Railway stations # 3: St. Ives Bay line

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It’s not just about one station but the whole line. When was on the train to St. Ives, the only thought I could have was “Would it be one of the most beautiful train journeys ever?” Well, let’s say that being part of the great scenic railway journeys in Britain is already something. And deciding to explore the Cornish railway is a must to do thing in every visit to Cornwall. It’s not just about stunning view on the railway.It’s much more than that every single station you stop by.

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The greatest tip ever is sitting on the right side of the carriage where it`s possible to have fantastic views out across the sea. But before the journey  even start think but leaving your car from Lelant Saltings station because there is a car park there and it’s the best decision to avoid queues in St. Ives, for example. Not to mention that the Devon to Cornwall line has also Rail Ale trails that are just impossible to not feel tempted to join them.

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By the way, Lelant Saltings is a very curious station. It’s so tiny that you are not actually allowed to wait for the train in its platform. The ticket has to be bought from the guard on the train. Waiting for it sitting in the bench of a car park was a quite unusual experience indeed. But hey ho, there is always a first time for everything in life. The route until St. Ives is breath taking.


The journey only takes 10 minutes until St. Ives, but it means 10 minutes of pure enjoyment.  The St. Ives Bay line was opened in 1877 and its 4.25 miles of journey is operated by the First Great Western.

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The line initially saw just five trains a day, but by 1909 this had grown to nine and in 1965 it was 17 with up to 24 on summer Saturdays. Some trains included through carriages from London Paddington station and in the 1950s the Cornish Riviera Express ran from St Ives through to Paddington on summer Saturdays.

The number of services continued to increase following the opening of Lelant Saltings and the summer of 2006 saw 26 daily services operated by Wessex Trains. First Great Western took over the operation later in the year and the winter timetable was reduced to 16 trains which caused some concern but the summer of 2007 saw a return to the previous service level.

In the summer months when traffic levels are high, most services are now operated by two-car Class 150 sets, but in the winter a single-car Class 153 is generally sufficient. On particularly busy days additional sets are added; St Ives can handle six carriages but the bay platform at St Erth is long enough for just five.[6] Two or three trains are extended to and from Penzance on most days to facilitate crew changes.

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The famous Devon to Cornwall line has these stunning railway journeys to explore such as:

  • Ives Bay Line ( From St. Erth to St. Ives);
  • The Looe Valley Line ( From Looe to Liskeard);
  • Maritime Line ( From Truro to Falmouth);
  • The Atlantic Coast Line ( From Par to Newquay)

Source | here   Photos | Simone Ribeiro

Simone Ribeiro
Hi! I'm Simone, a citizen of Britain, where I live for over a decade, and of Brazil, where I was born. Midlands Traveller is where I combine my passion for travelling, business and an Eco-friendly lifestyle.

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