The St Ives Bay Line (St Erth – St Ives)

The train journey to St Ives has to be one of the most scenic in Britain.

Enjoy the spectacular views from the train window as the line sweeps along the coast past the golden sands of Hayle Towans and Carbis Bay before arriving in St Ives. Then head for the beach, explore the harbour or wander the shops and art galleries.

Travel Information

Begin your journey at St Erth (on the main line), or if you’re in the car, use the Park & Ride at Lelant Saltings station (TR26 3DL). You’ll need a train ticket which are available from the ticket booth, or from the guard on the train when the booth is unattended. Dogs are welcome.

The best views – If you can, sit on the right hand side of the train when you get on at St Erth. The views out across the sea are fantastic!

How long does it take? – It’s a short but spectacular line, with the journey taking under 15 minutes.

Tickets – Tickets are great value. The Off-Peak Day Return from St Erth to St Ives is only £4.

Train Times – Trains run regularly throughout the day.

The Route

The St Ives Bay Line is a 4.25 miles (6.84 km) railway line which opened in 1877, the last new 7 ft (2,134 mm) broad gauge passenger railway to be constructed in the country. Converted to standard gauge in 1892, it continues to operate as a community railway which carries a large number of tourists as well as local passengers. It has five stations including the junction with the Cornish Main Line at St Erth.

The branch line is single track for its whole length with no passing places. It runs alongside the Hayle estuary and then the sea coast and is promoted as a good place to see birds from the train. It has also been listed as one of the most picturesque railways in England.

The line separates from the Cornish Main Line at St Erth. After the line goes through a short cutting and underneath two road bridges which carry the A30 roundabout outside the station, the line follows the western side of the estuary past Lelant Saltings. Beyond Lelant railway station the line enters a cutting and climbs onto the sand dunes above Porth Kidney Sands on St Ives Bay, with the church of St Uny and Lelant golf course on the left; the church’s cemetery was disturbed when the railway cut through the hill. The South West Coast Path crosses the line here and then follows close by all the way to St Ives. The railway continues to climb up and onto the steep cliffs at Hawkes Point, about 30 metres (98 ft) above sea level. Soon after the line comes around the headland at Carrick Gladden and into Carbis Bay. The line now crosses 78 yards (71 m) long Carbis Viaduct then continues on the cliff’s edge until it emerges at Porthminster Point, from where it drops down across the 106 yards (97 m) St Ives Viaduct to reach St Ives railway station which is situated above Portminster Beach.