Train Travel from London to Cornwall

Getting from London to Cornwall by Train is Easy:

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Travelling by train from London to Cornwall or Cornwall to London is easy. First Great Western Railway covers the West Country and their main London centre is Paddington Station.

On a recent trip to Devon and Cornwall, we travelled from Plymouth to Torquay, Torquay to St. Ives and then St Ives to London on First Great Western rail and found the services quite efficient.

If you’re thinking of travelling by train from London to Cornwall or vice versa, here are some tips for planning your train travel.

  • Cheap train fares to Cornwall – There is quite a difference in ticket prices so it is advisable to plan and book your rail tickets in advance to get the cheaper off-peak fare.
  • Booking your train tickets – Tickets can be booked on-line anywhere in the world and you can nominate which rail station you would like to pick up your tickets from. As we were going to be in London and were doing a number of train journeys on First Great Western, we decided to go to Paddington Station, just in case there was any complication with getting the tickets. It turned out to be a wise move because the ticket machines were giving passengers grief – the machines didn’t like the credit card we purchased the tickets with and we had to seek assistance from one of Great Western personnel.
  • Fare Restrictions – Read the fare conditions carefully before you book.  On some of the cheaper fares you are restricted to certain services only and you cannot change your time or date of travel. The ticket conductors come around frequently to check for fares and if you’re not on the right service, they can charge you for a whole new ticket at the full fare, i.e. they won’t just charge you the difference in fares. They are quite rigorous in checking for fares so it’s important to stick by the rules.
  • Lifts at railway stations – The train journey from London to St. Ives, Cornwall, and vice versa takes about 5-1/2 hours and there are two changes at Plymouth and St. Erth. There is a lift at Plymouth station which is helpful if you have to change platforms and have heavy cases. At St. Erth there is no lift – on the forward journey from St Erth to St Ives we had to haul our cases across the overhead bridge to get to the platform for St. Ives. The station master was quite helpful, but there’s only so much he could do as there were a few people needing help.
  • Selecting your seat preferences – The journeys on the train were comfortable. When making your booking online, you can select seat preferences on the longer sectors. If you need to do work or dislike noisy environments, remember to select ‘Quiet’ under Coach Type. Your selection is not guaranteed by where possible they will be met. I made the mistake of not checking our tickets when we got them and we travelled from St Ives to London in a carriage full of youngsters with noisy music. There was a party of 200 students travelling from Bodmin-Moor to London and the young girls chatted, giggled and played music the whole journey.


Hopefully these tips have been helpful. What do you think?

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