St Erth railway station

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St Erth National Rail
2009 at St Erth station - entrance from the road.jpg
PlaceSt Erth
Local authorityCornwall
Coordinates50°10′17″N 5°26′37″W / 50.17140°N 5.44374°W / 50.17140; -5.44374Coordinates: 50°10′17″N 5°26′37″W / 50.17140°N 5.44374°W / 50.17140; -5.44374
Grid referenceSW541357
Station codeSER
Managed byGreat Western Railway
Number of platforms3
DfT categoryE
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2014/15Increase 0.205 million
– Interchange Increase 0.181 million
2015/16Increase 0.258 million
– Interchange Decrease 0.177 million
2016/17Decrease 0.252 million
– Interchange Increase 0.185 million
2017/18Increase 0.262 million
– Interchange Increase 0.205 million
2018/19Increase 0.271 million
– Interchange Increase 0.210 million
Original companyWest Cornwall Railway
Pre-groupingGreat Western Railway
Post-groupingGreat Western Railway
1852Station opened
1877St Ives branch opened
Listed status
Listed featureSt Erth Station
Listing gradeGrade II listed
Entry number1143618[1]
Added to list14 January 1988
National RailUK railway stations
  • Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at St Erth from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.

St Erth railway station is a Grade II listed[1] station situated at Rose-an-Grouse in Cornwall, United Kingdom. It serves the nearby village of St Erth, which is about 0.75 miles (1.21 km) away, and is the junction for the St Ives Bay Line to St Ives. The station is 321 miles (517 km) measured from London Paddington via Bristol Temple Meads.

On an average weekday St Erth sees up to 69 trains, 26 trains to St Ives, 22 towards Penzance and 21 towards Plymouth. This makes it the busiest station in Cornwall in terms of services.


The station was opened by the West Cornwall Railway on 11 March 1852. At this time it was known as St Ives Road and was the railhead for that town, which lies about 4 miles (6.4 km) to the north.[2] This was an important harbour with a busy fishing trade and tin and copper mines; the new railway brought it artists and then tourists.[3] The station was a simple single platform situated on the north side of the line[4]

On 1 June 1877 a branch line was opened from here to St Ives, which was when the station was renamed 'St Erth'.[5] The station building was reconstructed in granite[6] and a second track was laid on the north side of the platform for branch line trains, but the main line still had only the one track. This was partly rectified in about 1894 when a loop line with its own platform was opened, but the line was only doubled eastwards to Hayle on 10 September 1899, and westwards to Marazion on 16 June 1929.[4] Beyond the St Ives branch platform was the station goods yard and sidings which served a china clay dry for a few years. It then served milk trains from the Primrose Dairy creamery, later operated by United Dairies,[7] although these were taken out of use in 1982.[8]

Preceding station Historical railways Following station
Marazion   Great Western Railway
Cornish Main Line
Terminus   Great Western Railway
St Ives Branch


The mainline platforms, looking east towards Plymouth. Platform 1 is on the right-hand side of the picture, while Platform 2 is on the left.
The bay platforms. Platform 3 is on the right-hand side of the picture; the platform on the left used to be used for goods traffic.

The station buildings are constructed of granite in an 'L' shape west and north of the St Ives bay platform. The booking office is staffed for part of the day and is located in the west-facing section which faces the station car park. The northern range incorporates staff accommodation as well as refreshment facilities which appeared in a list of the ten best station cafes published in The Guardian in 2009.[9]

Alongside this is a short siding with a loading platform, and the terminal track of the St Erth/St Ives branch line; the platform for this is number 3 and is long enough for a five-coach train. The opposite side of this is platform 2. Mainly used by trains towards Plymouth and beyond, it is also used by through trains for Penzance moving on or off the St Ives branch.[10] Because the main line is on a falling gradient towards Hayle, at the buffer stop end a few steps are needed to connect platforms 2 and 3 but at the east end they are nearly level. Standing at this end of the station the line to St Ives curves away to the left over Western Growers Crossing towards the covered way beneath the A30 road. The Cornish Main Line towards Hayle drops gently to the right with the signal box situated between the two.[10] The Down Sidings on the right of the main line are level and so are higher than the main line at the far end.

Platforms 2 and 3 have a long canopy above them to protect passengers waiting for their train. At the west end of this is a covered footbridge which links with the main westbound platform for trains to Penzance, and a large wooden shelter is provided here. A small granite building further up the platform is for staff use. As with several other stations in Cornwall, small palm trees grow on the main platforms, both of which can accommodate seven-coach trains.[10]

In 2017, a new concourse and ticket office was opened in St Erth, replacing the old ticket office which was smaller. The new building now includes toilet facilities and a waiting lounge, including a medium-sized ticket office with two windows. This process also included upgraded step-free access to the concourse and to platforms 2 & 3. A new entrance to platforms 2 & 3 near to the station cafe was also built, next to an also new private building for staff only. An improved transport interchange is under construction in 2018.[11]


A train going to London passes the signal box as it leaves St Erth

The signal box is situated at the east end of the station between the main line and the St Ives branch. It was opened on 10 September 1899 when the main line was doubled to Hayle and replaced an earlier box that dated from around the time of the opening of the St Ives branch. Semaphore signals still control movements around the station. The signal box also controls trains on the St Ives branch.[8]

Passenger volume[edit]

St Erth sees more passengers change train than any other station in Cornwall.[12]

  2002-03 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12
Entries 35,664 45,570 44,280 33,472 33,844 46,719 37,624 60,385 101,181
Exits 35,742 44,971 44,061 33,532 34,386 46,719 37,624 60,385 101,181
Interchanges unknown 85,652 87,676 102,930 115,100 119,106 130,517 138,551 179,632
Total 71,406 176,193 176,017 169,934 183,330 212,544 205,765 259,321 391,994

The statistics cover twelve month periods that start in April.


A Class 150 in the St Ives bay platform. The main line can be seen to the right.

St Erth is served by most Great Western Railway trains on the Cornish Main Line between Penzance and Plymouth with one train per hour in each direction. Some trains run through to or from London Paddington station, including the Night Riviera overnight sleeping car service and the Golden Hind which offers an early morning service to London and an evening return. Other fast trains are the mid-morning Cornish Riviera and the afternoon Royal Duchy. There are a limited number of CrossCountry trains (3 per day each way) providing a service to Scotland in the morning and returning in the evening.[13]

On the St Ives Bay Line all services are operated by Great Western Railway. A small number of branch line trains are extended from or to Penzance.[14]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Penzance   Great Western Railway
Cornish Main Line
Cornish Main Line
Terminus   Great Western Railway
St Ives Bay Line
  Lelant Saltings


  1. ^ a b Historic England, "St Erth Station (1143618)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 4 January 2017
  2. ^ MacDermot, E T (1931). History of the Great Western Railway. 2 (1863-1921) (1 ed.). London: Great Western Railway.
  3. ^ Bray, Lena; Bray, Donald (1992) [1981]. St Ives Heritage (Second ed.). Devoran: Landfall Publications. ISBN 1-873443-06-4.
  4. ^ a b Cooke, R A (1977). Track Layout Diagrams of the GWR and BR WR: Section 10, West Cornwall. Harwell: R A Cooke.
  5. ^ Beacham, Peter; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2014). The Buildings of England. Cornwall. Yale University Press. p. 538. ISBN 9780300126686.
  6. ^ Bennett, Alan (1990) [1988]. The Great Western Railway in West Cornwall (2 ed.). Cheltenham: Runpast Publishing. ISBN 1-870754-12-3.
  7. ^ Jenkins, Stanley C (1992). "the St Ives Branch". Great Western Railway Journal. Wild Swan Publications Ltd (Cornish Special Issue): 2–34.
  8. ^ a b Pryer, GA. Signal Box Diagrams of the Great Western & Southern Railways, Volume 16: GWR Lines in West Cornwall. Weymouth: GA Pryer. ISBN 0-9532460-5-1.
  9. ^ Wills, Dixe (12 May 2009). "Ten of the best railway cafes". Guardian. Retrieved 30 June 2009.
  10. ^ a b c Jacobs, Gerald (2005). Railway Track Diagrams Book 3: Western. Bradford-on-Avon: Trackmaps. ISBN 0-9549866-1-X.
  11. ^ Cornwall Council - St Erth
  12. ^ "Station Usage". Rail Statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  13. ^ Table 51 & 135 National Rail timetable, May 2019
  14. ^ Table 144 National Rail timetable, May 2019

External links[edit]