THE volume of traffic in the Lake District has long been an issue, but is now becoming more acute.

Congestion charging is becoming a serious consideration and excluding cars from certain areas has also been mooted.

Something certainly has to be done and the recent conference in Kendal organised by the Friends of the Lake District highlighted the seriousness of the situation (Gazette, November 14, 'Lakes car issues facing analysis').

Both the above options are worthy of consideration. However, how do those people displaced from their cars get to, from and around the Lakes. The bus network obviously has a serious role to play, but so does the railway.

In its current form the Windermere branch line is not fit for purpose and it certainly won’t be if car restrictions are introduced.

The line has huge potential but capacity has to be increased considerably if it is to contribute to the reduction of vehicles in the national park.

Tim Farron, in his Podium piece recently (Gazette, October 24, 'We need a new green industrial revolution') mentioned this and the Kendal Vision report stresses the importance of the railway.

Increased capacity is not just about additional track work. It is the improvement of all the stations (Windermere to Oxenholme inclusive) even to the extent of redevelopment where appropriate. All are currently restricted in what they can offer and the line’s status must be considered alongside congestion charges and other restrictions that may have to be introduced.

The railway will not be able to offer a total solution but it can certainly make a worthwhile contribution.

Dave Grime

Lakes Line Rail User Group