Number of trips on Lakes Line could 'double' with investment, Cumbria County Council argues

Credit: ITV Border

Cumbria County Council says the number of services that can run along the Lakes Line could double if improvement works get government backing.

The council wants to secure changes including the building of a 'dynamic passing loop' and an updated signalling system on the single-track line, which runs between Oxenholme station and Windermere.

A strategic outline case has been put forward to the Department for Transport which includes a second platform at Burneside and line speed and level crossing improvements.

According to a county council spokesperson, the passing loop would run west from Burneside and would mean trains would not have to slow down to pass each other.

Because the line is only single-track, only one round trip per hour is possible.

The spokesperson said: "This limits its ability to support the visitor economy and restricts local community access via rail to health, education and other key services."

They added that the improvements would 'deliver economic growth and environmental benefits by decarbonising train services'.

Cllr Keith Little, who is the Cumbria County Counci cabinet member with responsibility for highways and transport, said: "We believe creating a dynamic passing loop as part of a major investment in the Lakes Line would be hugely beneficial and help deliver a rural transport exemplar which better meets the needs of our residents, visitors and businesses."

"It would support our visitor economy and its green recovery by providing more sustainable travel to the Lake District and help more people to access services and jobs."

The strategic outline case has been put forward for consideration as part of the Department for Transport's Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline, which is a rolling programme of investment.

It argues that enhancements to the Lakes Line could add 'up to' 225,000 trips to the 550,000 taken per year along the line.

"If supported by the Government, proposals would be subject to further development and design, allowing a decision to be made on whether to deliver the upgrade," said the council spokesman.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...