Cumbria County Council has secured £7.5m of Government funding to take forward improvements to the Cumbrian coastal railway line, supported by an £835,000 contribution from the Local Enterprise Partnership.
The news comes on the back of a £394.5m Growth Deal being signed for the Borderlands, covering five local authority areas around the border between England and Scotland, which includes a £15m upgrade for Carlisle station.
The coastal railway funding will enable Network Rail to further define required improvements and produce a business case, which is expected to take two years. The upgrade will make more space for freight trains on the line, along with improved passenger services, intended to improve connectivity with the south of the county and the wider rail network.
Working closely with partners including Transport for the North, Network Rail, West Cumbria Mining, Sellafield and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the business case to this stage was developed by the LEP and county council.
Jim Jackson, deputy chairman of Cumbria LEP, said: “The decision by the Government to fund the further development of the business case takes us a step further forward towards the line being upgraded. That is why the LEP is delighted to invest up to £835,000 in the development of the case.
Barry White, chief executive of TfN, said: “This is really great news for Cumbria. It will deliver real change for the communities along this section of coast and help unlock new jobs and economic growth – not only for the county, but as part of the bigger picture of improving the freight and passenger links between the North’s two energy coasts.”