The Department for Transport is to deliver a package of investment in upgrades to the Cumbria’s railway infrastructure as part of the government’s Great North Rail Project.
In a letter from Lilian Greenwood, chair of the Transport Select Committee, it was announced that from May 2018 passengers to the Lake District will benefit from double the number of direct services to Manchester Airport.
From 2019, Northern Rail intends to introduce new trains with more seats and better on-board facilities including air conditioning, toilets, free Wi-Fi and plug sockets.
It will work on deploying alternative-fuel trains on the route by 2021, improving comfort and on-board facilities for passengers while protecting the sensitive environment of the newly designated Lake District World Heritage Site.
Managing director of Cumbria Tourism Jim Walker said: “We’re delighted to hear the government is investing in the Lakes Line from Oxenholme to Windermere. In recent years the service from Windermere to Manchester Airport has decreased so it’s a very welcome move from Northern and the Government to improve the number of services and the quality of the rolling stock.
Cumbria is a world-class destination and offers world-class facilities to its residents and visitors, so it’s only right that our transport infrastructure should be equally as good. Cumbria Tourism is firmly behind the development of new sustainable travel solutions, to help create greener ways for visitors to enjoy our epic and diverse landscape.”
The Great North Rail Project aims to deliver more frequent trains and new direct services on the West Coast Main Line, with faster journeys and increased frequency into and through Manchester from across the North West.
It is hoped the project will improve services for visitors while boosting access to jobs and new opportunities, growing the Northern Powerhouse by improving connections between the Lake District and the Manchester Airport international gateway.