Windermere passing loop heads South Cumbria rail plans

A plan for South Cumbria, setting out realistic investment targets for the region’s lines with its local operator at its core, is aiming for ‘quick wins’.

Produced by Community Rail Cumbria with the full “support and enthusiasm” of Northern Rail, Cumbria Transport Authority, Lake District National Park Authority and South Lakeland MP Tim Farron, A Blueprint for a Greener Rail Network in South Cumbria & North Lancashire is a concise document that states the need for and the solutions to bringing the local network up to 21st century standards.

It identifies the top priority as the Windermere-Oxenholme ‘Lakes Line’, recommending the building of a dynamic passing loop at its halfway point to enable a two-train, 30-minute frequency. 

A dynamic loop would be several times the length of the trains using it, enabling them to pass each other without having to slow down.

Says the Blueprint: “This would provide better and faster journeys with vast improvements to connection times at Oxenholme. This is the No. 1 priority within the sub-region and has the full support of all business and community leaders.”

The line was due to be electrified with through trains in a 2014 scheme, but this was cancelled in 2017 by then-Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling. He instead called for a complex, yet to be developed, bi-mode battery-electric scheme which has yet to make the drawing board.

The Blueprint says electrification is ultimately the way forward for the line.

With an eye to the future, the Blueprint also highlights the need to upgrade the West Coast Main Line in the area, ready for HS2.

To read the full story, see RAIL 961.

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  • Michael Denholm - 04/07/2022 11:47

    A sensible, essential initiative, propelling the Oxenholme - Windermere branch line from an 'extended siding' to a 'proper railway'. This plan could also re-invigorate excursion/railtour traffic to Windermere.

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