Memorandum by CKP Railways plc (REN 06)
RAIL SERVICES IN THE NORTH OF ENGLAND
1.1 This memorandum describes the work done
to date by the project executive team and the impact that the
project would have on economic and social development in the region.
The project executive team comprises CKP Railways plc, Corus Rail
Consultancy and Halliburton Brown and Root.
1.2 The redundant rail corridor created
by closure of the original railway between Keswick and Penrith
in 1972 still exists and is largely unobstructed. Most of the
land has been sold to adjoining landowners and 5km has been converted
for use as a cycletrack.
1.3 CKP Railways plc is a local company
set up to raise finance for an investigation of the feasibility
of re-introducing a rail link to Keswick and to prepare the necessary
drawings and reports required for submission of an application
for an order under the Transport and Works Act 1994 to construct
the new line.
2.1 The station site in Keswick still exists
and schemes have been developed for the construction of a new
terminal station with two platforms, car parking and interchange
facilities. The station will be capable of handling six coach
diesel units and eight coach locomotive hauled trains.
2.2 The proposal is to construct 28.6km
of new single track railway to a new junction with the West Coast
Main Line 1.0km south of Penrith Station. Two short sections of
double track are required to allow trains to pass.
2.3 Schemes for intermediate stations at
Threlkeld, Troutbeck, Penruddock and Rheged have been developed.
2.4 The route follows the alignment of the
original railway, for most of its length, but two deviations are
proposed. At Beckces, a new viaduct and other structures are required
and can be avoided if a new alignment following the A66 highway
corridor is adopted. At Stainton, the original route loops northwards
and can be shortened by 2km by again following the A66.
2.5 A large number of the structures required
still exist and are suitable for repair and strengthening. Others
have been fully, or partially removed and major works are required
at the three points where the A66 highway has been built across
the route. Schemes have been prepared for all of the new structures
and works to existing structures.
2.6 The cost to construct the new railway
is estimated as £60 million based upon the proposed scheme
with an aspiration to achieve 95mph running with modern diesel
units. The estimate includes the works necessary for the provision
of the new junction with the West Coast Main Line and associated
works to the existing signalling system.
2.7 The timescales for reinstatement are
Transport and Works Act Order Submission
Transport and Works Act Order Approval
6 to 18 months
3. IMPACT ON
3.1 Construction of the new railway will
provide opportunities to introduce direct services from Keswick
to and from other parts of the national rail network by the extension
of existing services and favourable responses have been received
from the operators of these services.
3.2 The proposed service would include a
regular hourly service from Keswick to Carlisle and intermediate
direct services to destinations beyond Carlisle. This would improve
the service between Penrith and Carlisle making rail travel more
attractive for passengers starting their journeys at Penrith.
Services would run seven days per week from early morning to very
late evening to suit the commuting, business and leisure markets.
3.3 The local economy was badly affected
by the foot and mouth crisis during 2001, which affected the rural
farming businesses and tourism.
3.4 Local employment would gain directly
from jobs created to build, operate and maintain the railway.
The railway would be managed locally in line with the principles
advocated by Salveson (2000) in his report "Developing Rural
Railways" commissioned by the Strategic Rail Authority.
3.5 Indirect employment would be created
by local businesses supplying goods and services to the railway.
3.6 Employment opportunities would increase
in the local communities as a result of improved mobility between
the towns served increasing the skills base available to new enterprises.
3.7 Keswick, Penrith and Carlisle have complimentary
education and leisure facilities, which are currently available
only to car owners.
3.8 Tourism is a major industry in Keswick
and further growth is restricted by the lack of car parking capacity
in the town. The railway would bring tourists without cars, who
are also more likely to spend longer in the town, improving sales
by local businesses. There is very little non-intrusive space
available in Keswick for the provision of additional car parking.
Co-operation with accommodation providers, local transport operators
and other businesses (many of whom already financially support
the project) would improve the sustainability and diversity of
3.9 Walkers and cyclists would choose Keswick
as the starting, or finishing point of their tours because of
3.10 A large proportion of seasonal staff
employed in the tourist industry live in and a greater proportion
would be able to commute, freeing additional accommodation for
use by visitors.
3.11 Keswick would act as a bridgehead for
West Cumbria to the national network. West Cumbria has rising
unemployment and poor transport links. Integration with other
forms of public transport would be mutually beneficial to the
railway and local operators, and help development of the economy
in adjacent areas. The potential positive impact by re-opening
the railway has been acknowledged by Cumbria County Council in
various development plans.
3.12 Freight services would be possible.
Considerable areas of forestry exist near the line and there are
industrial developments associated with former quarries that could
be potentially rail connected. The original railway was double
track for much of its length and the available formation width
could accommodate additional tracks and sidings at a number of
locations suitable as potential freight terminals.
3.13 Discussions with local businesses suggest
that there is scope to market combined travel and accommodation
packages. At the top end, this could include a luxury service
direct from an airport to hotels in Keswick aimed to attract wealthy
3.14 Keswick would benefit from the perceived
status of being on the national rail network. New businesses would
be more attracted to set up in the town by the improved communications.
3.15 Sustainability would be improved by
reducing CO2 emissions. Figures quoted by the Strategic Rail Authority
(2002) indicate that trains produce significantly less CO2 than
road vehicles. The figure quoted for a regional diesel unit is
approximately half of the value for a petrol powered car per passenger
km. Electrification is not proposed, but the works designed will
provide for potential future electrification.
3.16 Telecommunications needed for signalling
purposes could be developed in association with an optic fibre
cable route along the railway, to also provide improved telecommunications
facilities for the local area.
4.1 The estimated cost of £60 million
is under 0.2% of the funding allocated to achievement of the government's
10 year plan to support operation and investment in the railway.
4.2 It is much cheaper than equivalent road
schemes which currently receive high levels of public funding
and do nothing to achieve the government's desired modal shift
from road to rail.
4.3 Funding to date has been raised through
the sale of bonds by the promoting company CKP Railways plc to
private individuals and organisations. This funding will enable
completion of the submission for a Transport and Works Act Order
necessary for construction of the line. Keswick residents have
shown support for the project by contributing an average of £10
per head of population.
4.4 Before submission of the application,
funding must be secured for the construction, operation and maintenance
of the railway. Government funding and support in the form of
grants and guarantees would make the project much more attractive
for private investment.
4.5 The Keswick Area Partnership and the
Penrith Area Partnership are both putting together funding strategies
to provide funds from the Government's Market Towns Initiative.
Both towns have recognised that the railway has a tremendous amount
4.6 The project will contribute to economic
regeneration in Northern Cumbria, an area which was particularly
badly affected by the foot and mouth disease and should qualify
for European Community funding.
4.7 CKP Railways plc applied to the Strategic
Rail Authority for Rail Passenger Partnership funding in January,
2001, but despite initial encouragement, the application has not
been pursued to date. The SRA Strategic Plan identifies new lines
as eligible for support under the RPP scheme. Funding would assist
completion of the Transport and Works Order submission and implementation
of the project.
4.8 Discussions are progressing with various
sources of private funding. Private funding would be more readily
available if government funding and/or credit guarantees are made
5. SUMMARY OF
5.1 The provision of a modern rail link
to Keswick would benefit economic and social development in Northern
5.2 The investment needed to construct the
new railway would provide a valuable expansion to the national
5.3 The Strategic Rail Authority's position
regarding the provision of Rail Passenger Partnership funding
should be reviewed in light of the positive benefits of the project.
5.4 The government's desired modal shift
from road to rail transport will be encouraged by connecting Keswick
to the national rail network.
5.5 Project completion could be achieved
in three years with government support.
Martindale, C A (1998), Return to KeswickThe
Case for a New Railway, Iceni Enterprises Ltd, Carlisle.
Salveson, P. (2000), Developing Rural Railways:
Stage 1 Report to Shadow Strategic Rail Authority, Transport Research
and Information Network, Huddersfield.
Strategic Rail Authority (2002), The Strategic
7. FURTHER INFORMATION
Further details of the project are available
on the CKP Railways plc web site www.ckp-railways.co.uk.
5 June 2002