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We've moved a step forward to electrifying the Lakes Line! - Farron

June 27, 2013 1:36 PM

Tim Farron MP & Cllr Andy Shine at Oxenholme StationSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has welcomed the government's announcement to conduct a feasibility study as a precursor to electrifying the Lakes Line.

Today Danny Alexander reveal the details of £50bn of capital spending on infrastructure announced in today's spending review, Tim has campaigned extremely strongly to see the Lakes Line included in a project to electrify routes around Manchester and Blackpool. As part of that review Danny has set aside funding for a major study a step towards electrifying the line.

By electrifying the Lakes Line, services from ManchesterAirport to Windermere are more likely to be protected. The project to electrify the line would cost around £18 million according to official estimates but it is believed it would have a positive economic impact for the villages along the line.

Tim has led a long-running campaign along with the Lakes Line Users Group and with the support of South Lakeland District Council and local businesses, calling for a vital upgrade to a line which currently contributes more than £2bn to the tourist economy in Cumbria every year.

In a meeting earlier this week, First Trans Pennine Express added their support for Tim's cause having undertaken their own analysis of the business case, and expressed the company's willingness to work with the Council, local businesses and residents to step up the campaign for electrification if it is not announced in this spending round.

Commenting, Tim said: "This project is something I have worked on for the last two years. Together with passengers and the Lakes Line Rail Users group we have lobbied and campaigned to try and take a step closer to electrification today. This study will help us show once and for all that this project should happen - with this evidence we can then go to government and make sure the electrification is given the go ahead

"The plan will bring much-needed construction jobs in the shorter term and in the longer term attract new businesses, boost tourism and create a better environment for job creation.

"Electrification of the line would make economic, financial and environmental sense as well as help to ensure that the direct link between Windermere and Manchester Airport."

Commenting further Nick Donovan, Managing Director for First TransPennine Express (FTPE) said: "We welcome and are fully supportive of the Government's announcement regarding the feasibility study into electrifying the line between Oxenholme and Windermere. It is great news for rail users in Cumbria and will help to further improve the region's connectivity and accessibility.

"FTPE has been in regular dialogue with stakeholders, including Tim Farron MP, user groups and customers and we have always encouraged proposals for infrastructure development for the Windermere route. As the current route operator we have worked in partnership with Network Rail and community representatives to provide the best possible arguments in favour of electrifying the line.

"This announcement coupled with our £60m investment in new trains which will start to be delivered from the end of this year will mean an exciting and positive rail future for South Cumbria."