Scenic rail travel in Devon and Cornwall reaches a record high
Rail travellers on scenic Westcountry branch lines reached a record high last year, topping more than two million passengers for the first time.
Passenger journeys on the seven community rail lines in Devon and Cornwall rose by 4.7% in 2012 compared to the previous 12 months.
The largest increase in journeys was on the Atlantic Coast line to Newquay – with 22.5% growth – after the introduction of all-year-round Sunday services for the first time in it's history.
The largest actual number of journeys was on the Maritime Line between Truro and Falmouth where more than 613,000 journeys were made – up by 147% since 2006.
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First Great Western managing director Mark Hopwood told delegates at TravelWatch South West's general meeting at the weekend: "These excellent results show the value of our local rail services in the South West and how productive partnerships can really deliver results that benefit local people and the local economy. Our local community rail services are not only among the fastest growing, but also among the most reliable in the country and we look forward to working with partners to deliver further improvements."
On the Tarka Line, from Exeter to Barnstaple, the number of journeys rose 6.1% to 543,519 in 2012.
There were an extra 2,191 journeys on the Tamar Valley route from Plymouth to Gunnislake – a 1.3% rise to 175,105 journeys.
In Cornwall, passenger number on the St Ives line were up 2.1% to a total of 506,714 making it the busiest year ever on the route.
While the Atlantic Coast line saw passengers numbers increase by nearly a quarter to 84,242, journeys dipped on the Liskeard to Looe line by 5,388 to 104,906.
The record figures exclude the Avocet route from Exeter to Exmouth which was only designated a community rail line during 2012. It saw growth of 9.7% compared to 2011 with 1.4 million journeys, an increase of 123,743.