Penzance railway station

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Penzance National Rail
Penzance station south.jpg
Place Penzance
Local authority Cornwall
Coordinates 50°07′20″N 5°31′56″W / 50.12226°N 5.53223°W / 50.12226; -5.53223Coordinates: 50°07′20″N 5°31′56″W / 50.12226°N 5.53223°W / 50.12226; -5.53223
Grid reference SW475306
Station code PNZ
Managed by Great Western Railway
Number of platforms 4
DfT category C1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2002/03 0.392 million
2004/05 Increase 0.403 million
2005/06 Increase 0.414 million
2006/07 Increase 0.462 million
2007/08 Increase 0.498 million
2008/09 Increase 0.526 million
2009/10 Decrease 0.521 million
2010/11 Increase 0.556 million
2011/12 Increase 0.579 million
2012/13 Decrease 0.563 million
2013/14 Decrease 0.533 million
Original company West Cornwall Railway
Pre-grouping Great Western Railway
Post-grouping Great Western Railway
Opened 1852
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Penzance from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal

Penzance railway station serves the town of Penzance, Cornwall, England. The station is the western terminus of the 305-mile (491 km) Cornish Main Line from London Paddington station.


Inside the second station c. 1915, a Steam Rail Motor waits to depart

The station was opened by the West Cornwall Railway on 11 March 1852[1] as the terminus of its line from Redruth. Perhaps prompted by a serious fire in 1876 which destroyed the goods shed[2] the wooden station was replaced by the current buildings in 1879 which were designed by the architect, William Lancaster Owen. The new platforms were used for the first time on 18 November 1879.[3] However, the new station suffered from teething problems, as by 1880 it was reported that some settlement in the masonry and shrinkage of the iron in the roof had caused several sheets of the glazing to break.[4]

Further alterations were made in 1937 and again in 1983 when new a ticket office and buffet were opened.[5]

The blocked-up archway in the wall that retains the hillside behind the platforms was used by the railway as a coal store. Freight traffic, especially the busy fish trade, was handled in the former goods yard, where cars are now parked, adjacent to the bus station. An engine shed was also situated here before being moved to the opposite side of the line near the end of the retaining wall. It has since been replaced by the new Penzance TMD outside the station at Long Rock.

From 1996, South West Trains operated a weekly weekend service from London Waterloo as an extension of its service to Exeter St Davids. This ceased in December 2009.

In 2012/13 the station's roof was refurbished.[6]

Preceding station Historical railways Following station
Terminus   Great Western Railway
Cornish Main Line


Penzance is both the southernmost station on the National Rail network and the westernmost station in England (although not Great Britain as some stations in Scotland are further west.[citation needed]) The station, like all others in Cornwall, is operated by Great Western Railway.

Platforms 1, 2 and 3 are within the main train shed; Platform 4 on the south side is in the open air. A large stone at the end of this platform welcomes people to Penzance in both English and Cornish. This side of the station is built on the sea wall near the harbour; the other side is cut into the hillside.


A First Great Western operated British Rail Class 43 (HST) at Platform 4 with a bilingual sign in English and Cornish.

Penzance is the terminus of the Cornish Main Line. The current journey time to or from Paddington is between five and six hours.

In the summer of 2013, it was served by 18 Great Western Railway and 4 CrossCountry departures Monday to Friday, with 18 on Saturdays and Sundays. There are also a small number of short workings to St Ives or Truro.

Two operators serve Penzance. Great Western Railway operate a mixture of local trains to Plymouth and longer distance services to London Paddington. These include the Night Riviera overnight sleeping car service and the Golden Hind which offers an early morning service to London Paddington and an evening return. Other fast trains are the mid-morning Cornish Riviera and the afternoon Royal Duchy. Services to London Paddington during the day use Class 43s, but other services use Class 150 and Class 153 DMUs. The Night Riviera uses a Class 57 locomotive hauling Mark 3 carriages.

There are a limited number of CrossCountry trains providing a service to destinations such as Birmingham New Street, Wolverhampton, Derby, Manchester Piccadilly, Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh in the morning and returning in the evening.

Preceding station   National Rail National Rail   Following station
Terminus First Great Western
  Ferry Connections  
St Mary's   Isles of Scilly Steamship Company

Passenger volume[edit]

Penzance is the second busiest station in Cornwall after Truro. Comparing the year from April 2008 to that which started in April 2002, passenger numbers increased by 64%.[7]

  2002-03 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12
Entries 199,282 205,025 210,998 235,377 253,881 323,269 260,491 278,273 289,824
Exits 192,726 197,974 202,907 226,387 244,409 323,269 260,491 278,273 289,824
Interchanges unknown 2,132 748 699 354 49 200 22 118
Total 392,008 405,132 414,653 462,463 498,644 646,538 521,182 556,568 579,648

The statistics cover twelve month periods that start in April.

Bus station[edit]

A bus station is situated immediately outside the station entrance; this example of transport integration arose from the Great Western Railway's operation of most of the early bus services in the area. It is served by First South West and National Express services.

The Tourism Information Centre is located in the middle of the bus station.


  1. ^ "West Cornwall Railway. Opening of the Line from Redruth to Penzance". Royal Cornwall Gazette (Falmouth). 12 March 1852. Retrieved 5 October 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 
  2. ^ "Fire at the Penzance Railway Station". Royal Cornwall Gazette (Falmouth). 22 January 1876. Retrieved 5 October 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ "Fire at the Penzance New Railway Station". West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser (Falmouth). 20 November 1879. Retrieved 5 October 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 
  4. ^ "Penzance". Cornishman (Falmouth). 3 June 1880. Retrieved 5 October 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ Bennett, Alan (1988). The Great Western Railway in West Cornwall. Cheltenham: Runpast Publishing. ISBN 1-870754-12-3. 
  6. ^ "Penzance train station: Giving travellers a good welcome". The Cornishman. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Station Usage". Rail Statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Retrieved 2010-03-25. 
This station offers access to the South West Coast Path
Distance to path 50 yards (46 m)
Next station anticlockwise Falmouth Docks 60 miles (97 km)
Next station clockwise St Ives 41 miles (66 km)