Cumbria is a global leader in the fields of nuclear, energy and advanced manufacturing, but the county’s transport infrastructure requires significant improvement if we are to build on these strengths and secure potential large scale investments in the coming years.

Much of this planned new investment, notably the Moorside development, is earmarked for West Cumbria.

That’s why Cumbria LEP is spearheading a consortium of parties and developers working with Network Rail to produce a strategic outline business case for the Energy Coast Rail Upgrade.

This Rail Programme Board includes NuGen, Sellafield, the Low Level Waste Repository, National Grid North West Coast Connections, West Cumbria Mining, Network Rail and Northern Rail.

The programme of improvements for the Cumbrian coastal railway will deliver significant transport and economic benefits. The Energy Coast Rail Upgrade proposals will directly support:

  • The nuclear new build at Moorside which will deliver seven per cent of the UK’s electricity requirements
  • £10.9bn of exports through West Cumbria Mining
  • A resilient energy transmission network to carry power to the national network
  • The creation of 18,450 jobs in West Cumbria and 5,600 more in the UK labour market
  • £10.1bn in cumulative GVA (Gross Value Added) for the economy
  • Increased and improved passenger services on the line
  • 170m tonnes of freight taken off congested roads
  • More than 2.5m tonnes of carbon saved by reducing road transport.

The Energy Coast Rail Upgrade will help transform economic productivity and make Cumbria a more attractive and buoyant place to do business.

It provides a unique opportunity to modernise and transform the line to secure requisite growth in key sectors.

The package of improvements we are proposing are designed to increase capacity, improve resilience and modernise the railway.

Government support is essential for this proposition, with an opportunity for private sector partners to help unlock economic growth.

So with public and private sector partners working together, the Rail Programme Board has prepared a business case for the Department of Transport underpinned by a comprehensive evidence base, including rail capacity analysis and feasibility studies.

At the heart of proposals is the principle of partnership, in particular opportunities for a joint public and private collaborative investment model.

This would see direct public and private sector funding to deliver capacity improvements. This funding model will maximise the efficiency of investment and be the catalyst for transformational economic growth.

Central to this model for early and upfront delivery of improvements is an innovative approach to scheme funding, including private sector and other third party funding.

The project’s success will pave the way for significant investment in Cumbria and help underpin the role the county can play as a centre of excellence for nuclear, energy and advanced manufacturing.

It will also deliver a digital-ready railway, timetable improvements and increased frequency in passenger services for local people and businesses.