Rail services set for £1billion investment

Rail services set for £1billion investment

Rail services set for £1billion investment

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

RAIL passengers in South Lakeland are being asked what improvements they would like to see for services as part of a £1billion investment in the north.

The launch of the consultation will help the government establish how the Northern Rail and First TransPennine Express franchises can make best use of the investment being rolled out across the network.

Rail Minister Stephen Hammond said: “To make sure we make the most of this investment and deliver a railway that is truly world class and boosts our economy, it is vital that we hear the views of the people who use these services.

“That means more seats, improved connections and better journeys for millions of passengers travelling across this region.”

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Routes throughout the region are set to benefit from extensive electrification and upgrades during the next five years, paving the way for up to 700 extra trains every day and 44 million additional passengers each year.

Changes could affect passengers using TransPennine which currently run services from Barrow-in-Furness to Preston and Manchester Airport along the Furness Line, via Carnforth, Grange-over-Sands and Ulverston, plus the Lakes Line service from Windermere to Oxenholme, via Staveley, Burneside and Kendal.

They could also affect Northern services from Carlisle to Leeds via Settle, Ribblehead, Dent, Garsdale, Kirkby Stephen and Appleby, and the Leeds to Morecambe route via Giggleswick, Clapham, Bentham, Wennington and Carnforth.

Improvements should mean better journeys, connections and more modern trains for passengers and business commuters.

The consultation will look at how to tackle crowding, demand and provide faster and more frequent services.

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Better Transport group, said: “Getting real investment into rail is essential to the region’s economy and we’ll be looking to work with others to campaign for railways in the north to get the kind of support other parts of the country have seen.”

The consultations run until August 18 and people can respond via e mail at NorthernTPEconsultation2014@dft.gsi.gov.uk or online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/7L2NGR7 l Morecambe & Lunesdale MP David Morris has welcomed support from Lancashire County Council for his campaign to have the Lancaster to Morecambe railway line electrified.

Last month, the MP held a rail summit in his offices with representatives from rail companies and Network Rail to ascertain if it is possible to electrify the line.

Lancashire County Council’s transport chief says that electrification of the branch should be relatively inexpensive and straightforward to implement.

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