The number of passengers using Oxenholme and Penrith railway stations has more than doubled since the introduction of 125mph Pendolino trains in 2004, new research shows.

However, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce says this growth could be reversed if high-speed HS2 trains from London to Scotland pass through the county without stopping.

The chamber has submitted a 12-page business case to an official consultation on HS2, calling for the new trains to observe the existing stopping pattern north of Preston.

This would see all services stop at Carlisle and many at Lancaster, Oxenholme and Penrith.

Currently HS2 is proposing that its trains would operate non-stop between Preston and Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Rob Johnston, chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “We have made a compelling business case for HS2 services to stop in Cumbria.

“Forcing Cumbrian passengers to change trains at Preston would make rail a less attractive option and put at risk the strong growth in rail patronage over the last 15 years.”

The chamber’s submission, using data provided by the Office of Rail and Road, shows that passenger numbers at Carlisle have risen by 68 per cent since 2004, while at Oxenholme the increase is 124 per cent and at Penrith 134 per cent.

It points out that, in addition to a resident population of 498,000, Cumbria had 47m visitors in 2017 and that efforts by the Lake District National Park to reduce the number of tourists arriving by car would be frustrated if HS2 does not stop.

The chamber also said bypassing Cumbria would send out the wrong message to potential investors, damage the manufacturing and energy sectors and undermine plans for a Borderlands Growth Deal and a garden village in Carlisle.

Its document was endorsed by Cumbria Tourism, Carlisle City, Eden and South Lakeland councils, MPs John Stevenson, Rory Stewart and Tim Farron, and included comments from businesses that completed a chamber survey on transport.

The chamber’s business engagement manager, Julian Whittle, travelled to London last month to lobby the Minister for HS2, Nusrat Ghani.

Although the purpose-built high-speed line from London will end at Golborne Junction, near Wigan, HS2 trains will continue over existing tracks to Scotland.