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.
St Erth, it has to be said, would be fairly unremarkable if it weren’t for the branch line terminus. Three platforms, canopies, a ticket office, footbridge, a small car park. That’s about it.
The local community can be thankful for the St Ives line’s continued existence. Without the junction, I doubt this station would be as well-served as it is. St Erth itself is tiny, but is blessed with a regular stopping service to Plymouth and express trains to London Paddington.
The station itself is pleasant enough and, like most of the stations I encountered, well maintained. A small station garden is maintained by the local community. I found the home-made plaque boasting of their achievements to be quite sweet.
St Erth has the added bonus of a huge BR logo at ground level, meaning my last station sign photo on this trip was vaguely flattering and not an awkward up-the-nose shot.
It was a most agreeable way to end what had been a great three days on Cornwall’s branch lines. It’s a trip into a world that I thought had gone – of tiny halts serving secluded hamlets, busy junctions still controlled by GWR semaphore signals, and bustling old fashioned bucket-and-spade seaside towns. I didn’t want to leave.
There was still one more treat in store for me – the journey home, via Night Riviera sleeper train (an account of which I wrote up on my personal blog and am unashamedly plugging again).
Overall, I found the Cornish railway network to be in rude health, and I hope that this will remain the case even in this age of austerity and harsh budget cuts. Special thanks to all the railway employees I encountered and to all those who have supported and continue to support these branch lines.
Thanks to all of you who have been reading and commenting. Apologies for the length of time it took to write up the trip – real life has had a nasty habit of interfering with the blog over the past few months.
My thoughts are now turning to my next destination. There are still more branch lines in Cornwall and neighbouring Devon to visit, and a second trip to the south west is certainly going to happen at some point. However, there are loads more stations to visit in different parts of the country – the hard part is choosing exactly where. The Scottish Highlands? The Cambrian Coast? East Anglia? All have their own attractions.
It’s a big rail network out there, and many more stations to see. All aboard!