Plea to reopen Shap and Tebay rail stations

Date: Friday 21st September 2012

THE idea of reopening the railway stations at Shap and Tebay came under the spotlight at a meeting of the county council’s local committee for Eden.

Neil Hughes, of Bampton, as a member of the public, asked what the area committee proposed to do about its “manifest failings” to develop an integrated transport system to improve access to services.

Referring to the Eden area plan for 2012-14 and its intention to support access to rural areas, he said: “Despite all this rhetoric both Shap and Tebay rail stations, on the west coast main line and situated within a designated growth zone the M6 corridor remain closed with little current prospect of reopening, and rail services within Eden are a fraction of what they were a hundred years ago during the administration led by H. H. Asquith.”

Committee chairman Martin Stephenson, (Con, Appleby) said: “Reopening stations on the west coast main line is a very challenging task.” Any new stations would be “very expensive and a very long term prospect”.

Mr. Stephenson felt, however, that he could be “more positive about the level of services in the future” due to the proposed take-over of the west coast main line franchise by First Group.

The council had, he said, contributed to improvements in rail services, quoting as examples the introduction of secure cycle boxes at Penrith station and lighting and waiting shelters at some of the stations on the Settle-Carlisle line, as well as the dedicated footpath between Kirkby Stephen and its station. “Not even H. H. Asquith managed to do that,” he said.

l Herbert Henry (H. H.) Asquith was the Liberal Prime Minister from1908-16.