The Group has found itself having to contact Northern management too often about cancelled trains and the disruption they cause. We continue to monitor what is happening, but if you have been delayed by a cancellation on the Lakes Line, please let us know using the general enquiries address below.
The Winter Bulletin is now available. If you'd like a copy and aren't yet a member, please download, fill in and send us your application form.
The next committee meeting (members invited to attend) will be held on Wednesday 7th March, in Bowness on Windermere at the Burnside Hotel, at 7.30 pm.
The Group was very disappointed to hear, on 17th July, that the Department for Transport has abandoned plans to electrify the line between Oxenholme and Windermere. After hearing the Secretary Of State for Transport tell us in 2013 he was confident the scheme would be approved and up and running for December 2016, then one of his junior ministers confirm £16 million had been set aside for the job, it is a great let-down to learn the scheme has been pulled. Coming so soon after the news that the Lake District had been awarded World Heritage Site status, it is a real blow. We need a truly modern railway to match the expectations of visitors.
From 10th December we have been running on a new timetable, though not much has actually changed between Oxenholme and Windermere. Northern tried to rationalise the timetables for their Cumbrian lines by adding the Lakes Line to their booklet number 6, which covers the Furness and Coast lines. They did manage to get the times in, but without giving as much detail about connections as we'd asked for. The main mistake is in the map on the cover - Kendal isn't there at all and Oxenholme is where Kendal should be! Northern has agreed to print another mini timetable for the Lakes Line, but hadn't delivered them to the Group in time for our Bulletin delivery.
If you're looking for a Lakes Line timetable on Northern's website, it is included in the download of timetable 6 even though this isn't obvious from the information on the site. There is also a Lakes Line-only timetable, number 38.
May 2018 timetable
Great changes to the timetable were promised from May 2018, principally the introduction of four return services on weekdays between Windermere and Manchester Airport. However, this all depends on the completion of electrification right through from Manchester, via Bolton, to Blackpool, as this would free up trains from Blackpool runs to work these long distance services for us. Now Network Rail has announced that the work will not be finished before May. Added to this, there are reports that the class 769 bi-mode trains (electrics with diesel motors for operation where the wires don't reach) will not be ready either. These trains are conversions of older electric trains which are no longer needed in the London area.
At the moment the official line is that the plans for may go ahead, but we understand that the operators in the North West are working on an alternative timetable in case they do have to make changes.
RMT has announced a further strike on Saturday 3 March. On 27th February Northern released this statement:
"Northern will keep its customers on the move during RMT strike action on Saturday 3 March by running more than 1,000 rail services.
Normal Saturday timetables will be significantly amended, and with additional engineering work taking place in the Manchester and Blackpool areas, around 44% of usual services will operate.
In some areas, where rail services are not available, Northern will help customers get where they need to be with the addition of rail replacement bus services.
The majority of rail services will run between 7am and 7pm and Northern expects all to be extremely busy and we are asking our customers to allow extra time for journeys, plan carefully and consider whether travel is necessary.
Full details of the revised timetables – together with rail replacement bus schedules – and supporting information for customers can be found on the Northern website
Information will also be displayed on posters at all stations across the Northern network and on customer information screens where available."
The Lakes Line has made it into 'Private Eye' with a mention of the old trains (and their sewage pollution) and lack of electrification. Does this mean we have national recognition?
Updated 27th February 2018