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Cumbria County Council: Include the Keswick Railway Reinstatement Project in your Local Transport Plan (LTP).
The Keswick to Penrith Railway Project has a design package ready, completed environmental impact assessments and a business case proved. CKP Railways PLC (CKP), who developed the Railway Project, are not asking Cumbria County Council to pay for the railway or to manage it. CKP and its partners have the knowledge and skills to finish the job. Potential private funders exist but need political certainty so that the Project can go ahead. Independent, private, funding like this would not divert money from vital needs such as health or education.
National Government is the body to authorise construction of the Railway, but only if it is shown as a local need – listed in the Local Transport Plan. All the County Council has to do to allow the Keswick to Penrith Railway to proceed is to write supportive policies, vote them into force, publish them, sit back and wait. As one of CKP’s supporters put it “why would the authorities refuse a gift of free infrastructure?”
The Lake District National Park Authority has protected the route and included the Railway in core policies. MPs at both ends of the route have shown interest.
Now Cumbria County Council must speak up.
Cumbria County Council helped found Rail North – nearly 30 Local Authorities guiding railway development across the north of England. Rail North knows about the CKP Project (apparently they consider it a “no brainer”) but can not help until Cumbria County Council endorses it.
It would potentially kick start other railway projects with new east-west train services to Cumbria and the Keswick branch could be extended west with a brand new line connecting to the Cumbria coast railway via Cockermouth.
The Lake District National Park has recently been granted World Heritage Site status by UNESCO after many years of effort by numerous organisations. This is brilliant news for the area, and visitor numbers are expected to increase and pressure will rise to avoid damaging the unique landscape and cultural heritage which won this status. Approximately 95% of visitors arrive by car. However some of the most frequent complaints are that the roads are congested, the car parks are full and furthermore parked cars and traffic spoil the views and create noise. Emissions and pollution levels also need to be tackled. The Lake District National Park Authority recognised this in their "Low Carbon Lake District" report many years ago. Re-opening the railway from Penrith to Keswick, or even further towards the Cumbrian Coast, with an all day, every day modern inter-regional train service would be a big step towards solving this dilemma.
A new railway would bring economic, social and environmental benefits to the North Lakes, West Cumbria, Penrith and Eden.
Please show your support and help make this happen.
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