THE long awaited introduction of new state of the art trains on the Lakes Line has finally taken place this week.

But as the first of the new class 195 trains travelled smoothly down the 10 mile branch line from Oxenholme to Windermere on Monday, rail user groups expressed their continuing concerns over the lack of capacity on the line.

"We are of course delighted that the new trains are coming into service, but there is still the problem of capacity and this problem is not going to be solved any time soon," said Robert Talbot of the Lakes Line User Group.

The first of the new generation of trains formed the 10.21am service from Oxenholme on Monday morning, with all services on the line scheduled to be replaced by the new units by mid-August.

And passengers on the Furness Line have also been able to experience the new trains as nine of the state of the art units came into service, with the number of direct services to Manchester Airport using the route increasing from six to 11 per day.

The move is part of a £500m upgrading initiative by Northern Rail, and each of the new three car units features free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, plug sockets at every seat and customer information/media screens with real-time information.

They are seen as a marked upgrade on the old class 158 units with more space for customers and better accessibility for wheelchair users and cyclists.

The introduction of the units was welcomed across the political spectrum in South Lakeland.

“The arrival of brand-new trains to the Lakes and Furness lines shows that our community campaign and constant pressure on rail bosses for a better service is working," said Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron.

"But it's also testament to the tireless work of our local rail user groups who provide a first-class service fighting for passengers all year round.

"Getting more people using a reliable and modern train service is vital not just for our local economy but also in reducing carbon emissions to help tackle the climate emergency.”

And Conservative parliamentary candidate Cllr James Airey said he was very pleased his own efforts to lobby for improved rail transport in the area had been successful.

"When I met the Rail Minister Andrew Jones in April, I made the case for more investment in the Lakes Line and the Furness Line and I am delighted that on Monday we are going to be amongst the first areas to receive these new trains,” he said.

Mr Talbot also hailed the introduction of the trains, but retained his reservations over capacity problems, which have seen renewed calls for a passing loop on the line between Staveley and Burneside stations, a project which would immediately double the line's capacity.

Mr Talbot explained that while the number of coaches on the new traisn t eh a