Oxenholme to Windermere railway could be electrified

A Virgin Pendolino train

Electric trains could soon be running on a route in the Lake District, the Transport Secretary has announced.

Patrick McLoughlin said he wanted to electrify the 10-mile Lakes Line Railway between Oxenholme and Windermere at a cost of £16m.

He said electrifying the route would enable faster and greener travel between Kendal, Burneside and Staveley, as well as to Manchester, by 2016.

He revealed his plans during a visit the county.

Cumbria Council welcomed Mr McLoughlin's plan and said it would bring environmental and economic boosts to the county.

The government has asked Network Rail to draw up a full business case for the scheme.

'Economic case'

Mr McLoughlin said: "This is a key line to one of the most important tourist areas in the UK and I believe the rail industry has a role in making sure more people can travel comfortably to enjoy the beautiful lakes.

"I recognise that strong rail links across the country are important drivers in our economic recovery, that is why we are pushing ahead with the biggest programmes of rail electrification ever."

Councillor Jo Stephenson, deputy leader of the county council, said: "I'm delighted the government has recognised there is a strong economic and environmental case for electrifying the Lakes Line.

"Not only will it bring newer trains for passengers, but it will also strengthen our case for maintaining and improving direct services from Manchester Airport to Windermere."

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