A KEY study supporting the case for investment in the Furness rail line is to be backed by a partnership of public and private sector funding. The Furness Line Community Rail Partnership (CRP) is commissioning the study, which will set out the economic case for upgrading the railway, including electrification of the line and improved passenger train services. Cumbria County Council’s South Lakeland Local Committee today agreed to contribute £3,000 towards the study, matching a similar amount agreed last week by the county council’s Barrow Local Committee. South Lakeland District Council and Barrow Borough Council are also making financial contributions. It will cost around £30,000 to produce the study, with £12,000 of the funding coming from the public purse and the remainder from the private sector. The study will put the business case for future investment and the retention of good quality train services along the Furness Line, including through services from Barrow to Manchester Airport. Coun Geoff Cook, Chair of South Lakeland Local Committee, said: “It’s very important that we make the strongest possible case for future investment in the Furness Line, as new rail franchises are due to start in 2016. This economic study is a vital part of that process and is being funded by a partnership of the public and private sector. Everyone will benefit from having fast, good quality train services and the local committee was delighted to support the CRP study.”