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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

MP welcomes feasibility study into Lakes rail electrification

The Government is funding a feasibility study into electrifying the Lakes Line railway.

The move is part of the capital spending on infrastructure announced today by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron believes it will be a big step towards the £18 investment needed to electrify the line which runs from Oxenholme to Windermere.

He 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.”

In a meeting earlier this week, First Trans Pennine Express added their support for Mr Farron's lobbying, 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.

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."

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