An event will seek to encourage consumers to use the railways to travel to and from Carlisle and support local businesses.

The event will take place in Carlisle’s The Lanes shopping centre, where representatives from Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership, Community Rail Cumbria and Settle Carlisle Railway CRP will be showcasing rail travel to Carlisle and beyond.

Anne Ridley, who works as a marketing director for the Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership, said: “One of our aims is to promote rail travel.

“This week is community rail week, and I’m conscious that if you do these promotion events in a railway station you are targeting people who are already rail users, so we wanted to do it where people are who don’t usually travel via rail.”

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On why rail travel deserves to be promoted, she said: “It is more sustainable.

“We hope to get people who decided to use their car more to get back on the train.”

Rail prices are still high, and the high prices have been exacerbated by the cost of living crisis which is ongoing.

It is predicted that the annual growth of the retail prices index (RPI) – which is the measure used by the government to set rail ticket price increases – could hit 11.8 per cent in July, which would be the highest level since the 1980s.

The RPI figure in July is normally used to set the price increase for rail fares for the next January, but in the last two years, the implementation of this has been delayed until March so people can have more time to buy cheaper tickets.

Anne said of price concerns: “There are some good prices out there.

“Compared to the price of petrol and diesel, rail fares are much cheaper.”

She also mentioned railcards as options to slash rail fares by 30 per cent, if you happen to fall within certain age brackets.

Amid rail strike action as well, rail travel is more inconvenient now, with cancellations becoming more common.

Anne said: “It’s unfortunate there are lots of things happening that are making travel more difficult.

“It would be lovely to have a completely reliable rail industry but we live in the real world.”

Mark Nott, centre manager at The Lanes, said there are a number of reasons to promote rail travel, such as sustainability and diversity, by encouraging people outside the city to come and shop in Carlisle, particularly rural residents.

The event will take place on Wednesday, May 25, from 9:30 am at The Lanes.
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