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Lakes Line electrification case study launched to halve cost

Windermere branch train 3to2

A new case study has been launched to slash the cost of electrifying the Lakes Railway Line in the north west of England.

The case study is to be carried out by the Railway Industry Association (RIA) and will involve looking at cutting the cost of the project by half the original estimated bill. The 16km long branch line runs between Oxenholme in the south through Kendal and up to Windermere in the north of the lake district.

Plans, announced in 2014, to electrify the line at a then cost of £16M were scrapped in 2017 by transport secretary Chris Grayling.

After a delay to the original completion date of 2017, the scheme was expected to be included in plans for Network Rail’s current control period 6 (CP6). However, the scheme was shelved after the government lost confidence in rail electrification following the massive cost overrun of the Great Western route.

MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale Tim Farron together with the Lakes Line Rail User Group had been pushing for the move.

“I’m really grateful to the RIA in agreeing to makes the Lakes Line a case study for electrification,” said Farron. “This gives us every chance that we will be able to present a cheaper version of electrification to Government in order to get them to change their mind.”

“There is already a lot of pressure for the Department for Transport to do this from an environmental point of view. If the Government is serious about tackling climate change then it needs to be electrifying lines – especially the one taking people into Britain’s second biggest visitor destination.”

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