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MP takes Furness report to Westminster

September 12, 2014 1:42 PM

From left to right, Ian Stephens (Cumbria Tourism, Chief Executive), Cllr Peter Thornton (Leader, SLDC), John Woodcock MP, Tim Farron MP, Cllr Liz Lewis (Mayor of Grange) & at the front Cllr Frank Cassidy (Barrow councillor) South Lakes MP Tim Farron has backed a study into the future of the Furness Line, and called for a Westminster Hall debate on the issue.

The Furness Line Study, a 90-page report released in August by The Railway Consultancy Ltd, concludes that the line is not fit to meet demand currently and will definitely not be able to cope with the expected population and employment boost in the area in coming years. Tim would like to bring all the local MPs along the line together to press the case for more infrastructure funding for the line.

Thanks to the hard work and campaigning of Tim and councillors like Colin Jones and the late councillor Jo Stephenson, the Lakes Line between Oxenholme and Windermere is scheduled to be electrified in 2016. The Furness Line Study seems to suggest that an increase in the number and frequency of trains on the line would justify the eventual electrification by around 2030. The report also proposes bus links within the area.

The number of passengers using the Furness Line in 2012-2013 in Westmorland & Lonsdale was:

  • Arnside: 110,032
  • Grange-over-Sands: 148,196
  • Kents Bank: 21,186
  • Cark and Cartmel: 60,588

A Westminster Hall debate allows more time for individual MPs to raise issues of importance to them through adjournment debates.

Tim said: "This is a massive issue for residents in the Kent Estuary and Cartmel Peninsula and I am committed to do all I can to improve service on the line now, and to work with other MPs to electrify the line in the medium term. We have worked hard to campaign to electrify the Lakes Line, something that is looking very positive, but the Furness Line must not be left behind.

"I hope that the Speaker will grant this debate, and by working together MPs of all sides can make the case for investment on the Furness Line."