WESTMORLAND and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron has secured a meeting with Transport Minister Norman Baker to discuss electrification of the Lakes Line.
Mr Farron used a Parliamentary question session to make the point that Network Rail have described the process of electrifying the line as a “straightforward job.”
There are fears for the future of the Lakes Line following electrification of routes around Manchester ensuring an hourly service from the city to Preston, Carlisle and Scotland.
Mr Farron called on the minister to meet with him, rail operator First Group and local users of the line in order to make further progress.
The minister’s response was that either he or fellow Transport Minister Simon Burns would be willing to attend such a meeting.
Mr Farron had previously used a meeting with managing director of operators First Group Nick Donovan to secure the firm’s support for the proposals, a factor which the Department for Transport had indicated would be crucial in any decision.
"The electrification of the Lakes Line makes economic, financial and environmental sense,” said Mr Farron. “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.
“Today ministers agreed to hold a meeting with me and the Lakes Line Users group offers us a real opportunity. I hope to get them, Network Rail and the train companies around the table and work to make this project happen. Each organisation has told me they are supportive and keen to make this happen. This meeting offers us a chance to do that.
"Electrification of the line would also help to ensure that the direct link to Manchester Airport is protected as it shows us a regional hub; a place to visit and do business. I will push the government on both these projects and do all I can to ensure the upgrade of the infrastructure of our public transport network in the South Lakes."