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Farron campaign victory for direct airport trains

July 20, 2017 2:27 PM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has welcomed an important victory for his long-running campaign for more direct trains from Windermere to Manchester Airport, with the news that hybrid trains will start running on the Lakes Line. However, he has warned that the government must make sure this plan becomes a reality.

Tim originally managed to secure funding for an electrification project in 2014, and the original timescale would have seen the project finished by 2017. However, new technology means it is now possible to use hybrid trains which can transition seamlessly between electric and diesel power.

Under plans announced today, the Lakes Line will have four direct services a day in each direction between Windermere and Manchester Airport from May 2018. There will also be brand new trains from December 2019 with more seats and better on-board facilities. The plans would see hybrid trains in use by 2021.

Tim said: "I have long campaigned to increase the number of direct trains from Windermere to Manchester Airport, which will provide a real boost to our tourist economy and to local residents. Using hybrid trains on the Lakes Line allows our line to be integrated fully with the rest of the network, without the need for overhead wires in the National Park.

"However, at the moment these plans are just promises on paper. The Conservative government must not use this change in plan as an excuse for further delays. If the electrification had gone ahead as originally planned, we would already have new electric trains running through to Manchester. Instead, the government just kicked the can down the road.

"New hybrid technology is a great opportunity for this line and for the South Lakes. The government must not delay these plans like it delayed others.

"I'd also like to thank the Lakes Line Rail Users Group for their constant work campaigning for the line."