Cumbria Crack

Farron: Lakes Line shuttle service must be up and running as soon as possible

[L]ocal MP Tim Farron has been keeping up the pressure on rail bosses following Saturday’s march in protest of the ongoing chaos on the Lakes Line.

Tim has been speaking with bosses at Network Rail and Northern, pushing them to get a shuttle service from Oxenholme to Windermere running as soon as possible.

Tim has also floated the idea of another company being brought in to run a shuttle service on the line as a short-term measure.

During the conversations, Northern suggested they would have at least a partial service up and running by July 2nd.

Tim has pressed them to make sure that happens and that as many of those services as possible are trains rather than buses.

Tim said: “Even though the introduction of buses was intended to bring a more reliable service, I’ve had a number of constituents get in touch with me to say that their lives are still being hugely disrupted with buses regularly arriving late.

“I’m aware of open access operators who are prepared to run a shuttle service in the short-term.

“It’s disappointing that rail bosses seem to have an attitude of can’t do rather can do, but I will be raising this option with the Department for Transport.

“I’m also glad to see that Northern have finally come round to the idea of introducing a shuttle service – but it needs to be up and running as a matter of urgency.”

Following a meeting today of Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet, Cllr Keith Little, Cabinet Member for Transport said: “Over recent weeks we have been working closely with Transport for the North to identify ways of quickly restoring a train service to this important tourist destination. We have had extensive discussions and we believe that Northern Rail have understood our concerns and the fears of local businesses in the midst of their very important tourist season.

“We believe that by early July we will have a temporary rail based solution in place from Oxenholme to Windermere as well as a longer term plan for improvements to the whole Northern service. This follows extensive lobbying and the unswerving support of everyone who has been affected by the disruption on this line.

“As well as the transport solution, we are also pressing them for additional investment to help tackle lost valuable tourism income to the area and we are recommending that they fund a major marketing campaign to help re-attract tourists back to our beautiful county.

“What we have made clear throughout all of this is that Cumbria won’t just sit back and take this kind of disruption and that we will do all that we can to protect the interests of our residents and businesses alike.

“We have also been very clear with Northern that we are expecting the final introduction of the new timetable to result in a better service than we have had over the last 12 months.”

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