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Lake District line to be electrified

The 10-mile line between Oxenholme and Windermere in the Lake District is to be electrified.

Transport minister Baroness Kramer confirmed £16m of funding for the project, which will be carried out by Network Rail as part of its electrification programme across the north.

The branch line, which runs between Oxenholme Lake District station on the West Coast Main Line and terminates at Windermere station in the National Park, will be upgraded to allow faster, greener and more reliable electric trains to run on the route. Once completed, the line will form part of a direct electrified route between key destinations in the region, including Kendal, Burneside and Staveley, and Manchester.

Baroness Kramer said: “Electrifying this key rail link will support the vital tourism industry in the area, and help us build a stronger economy in the Lake District and beyond.

“We are committed to building a world-class rail network. Over the next five years, more than £38bn will be spent on improving and running the system, with schemes like this helping to provide better services for passengers across the UK.”

Network Rail will now develop a detailed plan for the work, which could be completed as early as 2017. The National Park environment and the value of visitors using the railway will be taken into account as the work in the Lake District is carried out, the DfT said.

David Golding, strategic planner at Network Rail, said: “Confirmation of this funding is great news and will support the retention of direct services between Manchester to Windermere, as the rest of the route is electrified. Once complete, electrification will enable a faster, more reliable rail service. This is part of a wider investment by Network Rail in the electrification of key routes between towns and cities across the north of England.”

(Image: Oxenholme Lake District station c. mattbuck)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


Andrew Gwilt   28/11/2014 at 11:36

If plans to electrify the Lake District line with AC 25kv Overhead then it would recommend having couple Class 321's or Class 317's cascaded from Abellio GA to be used betweeen Oxenholme Lake District and Windermere stations.

Pedr Jarvis   28/11/2014 at 16:31

Surely the thing to do is to have a through service from Windermere to some place where people might want to go, such as Lancaster or Preston; I see Manchester is mentioned. That would encourage some local traffic, instead of just the long-distance folk freezing at Oxenholme. Once upon a time, you could go quite a long way directly from Windermere, but those days are gone and so has the station.

Henry Law   28/11/2014 at 23:09

The headline gave the impression that this was something to do with the District Line. It conjures up the picture of D78 stock on the newly electrified routes.

Gabriel Oaks   01/12/2014 at 16:51

Electrification will be a welcome step in opening up Windermere and the area to long distance journeys. For example, why stop at Manchester when a service could serve its airport too (nothing new here)? To electrify the branch to only operate it as as a simple shuttle from Oxenholme or Lancaster would not give the Windermere area the service it deserves. In planning this electrification have other questions been asked in respect of is the the right time to consider whether there is a case for reinstatement of the passing loop at Burneside (service reliabiity /future capacity) and /or is there any demand for say, Windermere to Carlisle services (with suitable reveral connections at Oxenholme)? Indeed could Oxenhome be better served by such local services rather than stopping so many high-speed services? Probably not but it would be interesting to learn if such ideas have been considered.

Peter Relf   02/12/2014 at 00:52

Instead of a commitment to yet more road building, the Government should be embarking on a programme to reinstate many of the rail lines closed under the infamous Beeching axe, including Penrith to Keswick.

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