County council support would boost Keswick line’s case

Date: Tuesday 3rd April 2018

Sir, “Make national parks more accessible to families without a car” was one of your headlines (Herald, 17th March).

The Campaign for Better Transport states that “reopening rail lines across the country would go a long way to improving public transport and tackling overcrowding. Campaigners around the country are working hard to try and get rail lines reopened, or at least protected from development”.

A Facebook page called Keswick Railway group was set up by a young man who lives and works in Keswick and now has nearly 1,200 members. In September, CKP Railways plc was invited to meet some Cumbria county councillors who want to see the Keswick and Penrith railway project make progress.

The county council states it has no money to support the railway, but it is not being asked to fund the building of it, only for a letter to state that it agrees that such a restoration would be good for Cumbria.

A letter of support is required in order that approaches can be made to funding bodies and interested parties. Why has this not been done?

Local support for the Waverley Line has proved it to be of great benefit to the Borders. The Keswick to Penrith restoration would benefit Cumbria in terms of jobs and ancillary services, such as greater use of rural buses which need more support. More electric car and cycle hire businesses could be set up.

Keswick and the Lake District generally would have fewer visitors’ cars to deal with, which can be a nightmare in the tourist season.

People travelling to events such as Keswick Convention could travel by train as previous generations used to when the line was open. As 15,000 come during the three weeks of the Convention that would be a great reduction in vehicles; and then there is the mountain festival, the beer festival and the film festival.

Restoration of this line would enable people to travel to Carlisle much more easily for shopping, hospital appointments and events. The present bus does not always tie in with train times. Driving to Carlisle involves a 60-mile round trip or a convoluted bus journey.

It would also be a vital link between Carlisle to the northern Lake District from the new Carlisle airport as there is no public transport other than taxi at present providing such a link.

Support from Cumbria County Council would show it as an innovative body that understands the needs of its county. Publicity from this support would encourage the Government to recognise there is potential for growth in a county that seems too many times to be overlooked.

The Government is recognising that infrastructure needs to be developed and that it has been neglected for a long time. Now is the time for Cumbria County Council to show that it is ahead of the game. We cannot allow our county to be ignored. Yours etc,

SALLY NEWTON

By email