After a short journey back up the St Ives branch, my train came to a stand in the bay platform at St Erth.
No through journey to Penzance this time – this train, like most of the St Ives branch trains, finishes here. To get back to Penzance, I needed to wait for a main line service. This suited me just fine, as it gave me about 20 minutes to get some pictures of the station.
The penultimate station on my Cornish trip was the penultimate station on the St Ives Bay Line, namely Carbis Bay, a pleasant little station tucked away on a cliff side.
Some trains skip Carbis Bay, so I had to be careful to catch the right train from St Ives. My precise timetabling was not a problem, as the trains were punctual all day. In fact, reliability was generally excellent throughout my stay. The only severe delay had been when leaving Liskeard towards Truro on my second day, and even this had been caused by circumstances outside the railway’s control. It’s hard to believe that this is the same First Great Western which regularly attracts the ire of Slough commuters.
As I already mentioned, the weather was not particularly brilliant. Cool, overcast conditions gave way to rain as I departed Lelant Saltings. However, as we trundled along the branch line, I caught sight of some of St Ives’ famous beaches, which even grey skies could not spoil. Soon enough we were gently braking to a halt at St Ives station.
As an aside, if you buy a ticket to here, it will say ST IVES CORNWALL on it, to avoid confusion with St Ives in Cambridgeshire… which closed in 1970. Hmm.
St Ives, like most branch termini these days, is a basic but adequate station. There’s a single platform, a waiting shelter, and a basic vending machine which sells tickets for stations on the branch only. Bizarrely, it appeared to be a modified car park pay & display machine. Again, this is not the original station. A larger structure once existed closer to the town centre but, like Looe, the line was cut back slightly and the site of the original station is now – you guessed it – a car park.