Rail line revival could bring “millions” to economy

Date: Friday 12th September 2008

MILLIONS of pounds worth of benefits could result from reopening the Keswick-Penrith railway line, it was claimed.

Cedric Martindale, director of CKP Railways, which is seeking to revive the route, spoke out this week after the company published its latest report.

CKP Railways says that even for only 250,000 passengers per annum travelling by train rather than car to and from Keswick, the annual fuel saving would be in the order of 500,000 gallons which is now worth £2.5 million per annum.

And according to Mr. Martindale, there were other benefits to the local economy such as increased tourist spending of about £1 million per year (according to some estimates); connectivity; social integration; improved business opportunities; workforce mobility; and access to services.

“The most elaborate version of the Keswick to Penrith reinstatement, with double track, several intermediate stations and full signalling for an intensive service, was costed at £107 million. Benefits to this value would be realised within the first 10 years of operation,” said Mr. Martindale.

He claimed a less complex scheme, which would still be able to carry an hourly service, would deliver benefits equivalent to its construction cost “in as little as five to seven years”.

Meanwhile, CKP Railways also welcomed a report published by the Lake District National Park Authority. Entitled “low carbon Lake District”, the document has identified tackling “limited public transport” as one of the keys to reducing the area’s carbon footprint and reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels.

“CKP Railways plc are delighted to see this mentioned in a report from the national park authority and look forward to finding policies developing to ensure that this is achieved,” added Mr. Martindale.