Heritage rail company awarded for Lakes Line service

Tim Farron with Patricia Marshall, Managing Director of West Coast Railways, and Roger Blake from Railfuture Credit: Tim Farron's office

A heritage rail company that stepped in to provide a train service on the Lakes Line when Northern couldn't run trains in June 2018 has been given an award.

Carnforth-based West Coast Railway Co has been presented with the Railfuture Judges’ Special Award in recognition of its success in running ‘The Lakelander’ special service between Oxenholme and Windermere.

Northern cited timetable changes and staffing issues at the time and put on replacement bus services.

“The judges were so impressed that they decided to make a Special Award to West Coast Railways. They were recognised for launching their special loco-hauled ‘Lakelander’ service for Windermere. In a couple of weeks in June when Northern withdrew all their services, they carried 17,000 passengers in just that fortnight.”

– Railfuture Director Roger Blake

Local MP Tim Farron was also given an award for his work at the time.

“The service that the guys at West Coast provided was absolutely first class and they showed our multi-million-pound rail companies a thing or two about how you run a train service. We were overwhelmed with the amount of people that got in touch to say how glad they were to have this service and it was just great to see people enjoying travelling on the Lakes Line again. It was a common-sense solution, and a victory for the can-do over the can’t-do. But more than anything, it showed that when our community gets left behind by those in power, we don’t just give up – we come together, roll up our sleeves and get things done.”

– Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Lib Dem)