Lakes Line investment must still go ahead
The government must use the funds saved by shelving the Lakes Line electrification plans to invest in a passing loop to increase capacity, local MP Tim Farron has insisted today.
The government last week announced that it would shelve plans to electrify the Lakes Line. This project, costing £16million, was due to take place by 2017, but had been repeatedly delayed.
This decision came just days before the government reaffirmed its commitment to Crossrail 2 – a rail scheme in London which it is estimated will cost about £30bn.
An independent study commissioned by the Lakes Line Community Rail Partnership suggests that a passing loop would cost just under £10million.
Tim said: “The government must not pull investment from the rural north while continuing to pump billions into projects in London. I welcomed the news that direct services between Windermere and Manchester are to be restored, but the government must not get away with once again pulling investment from Cumbria.
“By investing just two thirds of the money that electrification would have cost, the government can put in place a passing loop that would double capacity. This would mean trains could run every half an hour rather than every hour. This would not only be useful for local residents, it would also provide an important boost to the local tourist industry, taking people to the heart of the Lakes.”
Following last week’s announcement, Tim spoke with the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, challenging him over the Furness Line. Tim said: “Bi-mode trains are an interesting prospect – and I was pleased to hear that new bi-mode trains might be able to be used on the Furness Line which wasn’t part of the electrification deal, securing direct services from that line to Manchester. I will be pushing the government to make a concrete commitment.”