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Tamar Valley Line

Increasing use of the Plymouth-Gunnislake line by more than 50%

Calstock Viaduct. Photo: Mark Lynam

The Plymouth-Gunnislake line provides a vital transport link for residents of the beautiful but difficult-to-reach and very rural Tamar Valley. The line also attracts a stream of visitors keen to sample the fine views, walks and food that the valley has to offer.

We work to encourage more local people to take the train and more day trippers and tourists to visit the Tamar Valley and contribute to its local economy.

Driving up journey figures
Through train service improvements, teaming up with local businesses to sell tickets in local shops, promoting the line locally, regionally and nationally, and improving stations with the help of volunteers and partner organisations, use of the line has grown by more than 50% since 2001.

Our work
The Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership develops the line by:

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Running the line forum

Meeting three times a year, the Forum brings together the rail operator Great Western Railway (GWR), Network Rail, Cornwall Council, Devon County Council, Plymouth City Council, Calstock Parish Council, Bere Ferrers Parish Council and other partners. This enables ongoing dialogue, leading to new projects and enhanced understanding and cooperation.

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Supporting volunteers

We have been running student volunteering opportunities with Plymouth University Students’ Union for more than a decade. The Rural Stations Project allows students to get out of the city into the Tamar Valley and engage in gardening and improvement works at stations – delivering a more attractive environment for passengers and giving students the chance to make a real contribution to the local community.

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Promoting the line to visitors

We promote the Tamar Valley Line through our printed visitor guides that appear widely in leaflet racks, a dedicated section on our Great Scenic Railways website, on social media and in local and regional newspapers. We also collaborate with visitor organisations including the National Trust, for example promoting visiting Cotehele by train and a scenic walk. We are members of the Tamar Valley Tourism Association (TAVATA).

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Encouraging greater use by local residents

Through our carnet ticket scheme, books of Tamar Valley Line tickets are available to buy in local shops – helping businesses to get more customers through the door, and giving people an easy (and discounted) way to buy tickets. The project has been such a success that carnet tickets now account for a fifth of all journeys made the line.

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Working towards improvements

In 2014, we worked with Network Rail on a programme of vegetation clearance to open up views from the train. We have also worked with Great Western Railway to improve the appearance of local stations through our Rural Stations Project (see above) and initiatives including improved signage and branded poster boards at stations along the line.

Visitors’ guide to the line

Explore our online visitors’ guide to the Tamar Valley Line on our Great Scenic Railways website.