RAIL FREIGHT operator English, Welsh & Scottish has called for Railtrack chief executive Gerald Corbett to close the Settle to Carlisle line for six months to re-rail the whole route.
Railtrack has been in talks with EWS and passenger operator Northern Spirit for several months over options to renew track on the route. The line is seen as a strategically important freight corridor but is one of Railtrack's broken rail 'hot-spots'.
EWS planningdirector Graham Smith told NCE: 'We would prefer the certainty of a long term closure to get the route back up to standard.'
However, this option is strongly opposed by Northern Spirit managing director Paul Davison: 'We will not accept a line closure. We have a commitment to run a passenger service and Railtrack have to provide the line. There must be a way of doing it while keeping a single track open.'
A decision from Corbett is expected by the end of this month.