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Local party writes to the Secretary of State about the SETTLE to CARLISLE line

December 2, 2020 11:55 PM

Settle - Carlisle Line 1Penrith and the Border Liberal Democrats have written to Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, to support the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line in their campaign to gain Community Rail Partnership status.

This would give the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line the right to be consulted by Northern on any changes to the services or timetables on the Settle-Carlisle Line.

In his letter, Adrian Waite, the Chair of Penrith & the Border Liberal Democrats writes that:

"The Settle-Carlisle Line is important to the community and economy of Kirkby Stephen, Appleby, Langwathby, Lazonby, Armathwaite and other parts of the Penrith & the Border constituency as a way for people to access work, education, training and leisure facilities; a link for local businesses; and as a way for tourists to access the area.

It will be of critical importance in re-starting the local economy when the coronavirus lockdowns come to an end.

However, recent experience, both before and during the coronavirus pandemic, has exposed weaknesses in the way the line is managed. Several problems have arisen especially with timetabling, some of which have yet to be resolved. There are also strategic issues to consider such as the need for integrated transport. Settle - Carlisle Line 2It appears that weaknesses in the present arrangements for communications between Northern (the train operator) and local communities is part of the problem and that improving these communications must be part of the solution.

You will be aware that the Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line wish to gain Community Rail Partnership status to ensure that they and local communities are fully consulted on future developments and plans. We support them in this ambition and urge you to grant them Community Rail Partnership status.

We would also ask you to urge the operator, Northern Rail, to engage in constructive consultation with the Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line about improving the timetable and service levels on the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle line to the benefit of the communities and travelling public."

Councillor Deb Holden, Leader of the Liberal-Democrat Group at Eden District Council added that: "I am more than happy to support the Friends of the Settle & Carlisle line. It would be good if they could have more influence on the time tabling of the trains through consultation."