A BBC programme has re-ignited the public debate on reopening an historic Eden railway line.

A recent edition of the Politics Show on BBC North East and Cumbria showed archive film of the Keswick to Penrith line and focused on an independent project by CKP Railways to reopen the railway to provide a transport link into and out of the northern Lake District.

CKP Railways was formed in 1998 specifically to work on the re-instatement of the line, which closed in 1972.

Director and local businessman Cedric Martindale said that even though a reopened Keswick to Penrith line would have great benefits to the local economy, CKP was carrying out all the exploratory work on the project, independently.

“The local authorities will all benefit from this reopening but do not have the resources to fund and implement such a project. The Government also does not normally sponsor railway reopenings – such projects are expected to be driven by local commercial interests since privatisation in the 1990s,” said Mr Martindale.

The company is compiling all the technical, environmental and economic material required to build and operate the railway as an independent line linked to the national network.

This would allow modern trains to run from any part of the UK directly into the Northern Lake District.

CKP plans to operate at least an hourly service from early morning to late night, every day of the week which would benefit visitors and commuters and would also help to reconnect West Cumbria to the main transport network.

Surveys estimate between 250,000 and 450,000 passengers would use the service every year with being comparable to local bus services.

According to CKP, the benefits to the area would include reduced traffic congestion, improved public transport network, environmental benefits and improved economic links which would, in turn, encourage more employment opportunities.

For details of the scheme, visit the website at www.keswickrailway.com.