The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed funding to electrify another section of railway in the north of England as part of its £600M Northern Hub programme.
The new contract will electrify 10 miles of railway between Oxenholme and Windermere in Cumbria. The £16M contract involves upgrading the track to allow electric trains to run on the route, which will form part of a direct electrified link between key destinations in the region, including Kendal, Burneside and Staveley, and Manchester.
Network Rail is developing a detailed plan for the work, which could be completed as early as 2017. This will be carried out by the rail operator as part of its electrification programme across the north which includes from Manchester to Liverpool, Preston, Leeds and York, and Preston to Blackpool.
Electrification from Manchester to Liverpool is well under way and is expected to be completed by contractor Balfour Beatty in early 2015.
The Manchester to Preston line will be fully electrified by December 2016 while the Manchester to Leeds and York line will see electrification work completed by December 2018.
On the latest announcement of funding for Oxenholme to Windermere electrification, Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “Electrifying this key rail link will support the vital tourism industry in the area, and help us build a stronger economy in the Lake District and beyond.”
Network Rail strategic planner David Golding said: “Confirmation of this funding is great news and will support the retention of direct services between Manchester to Windermere, as the rest of the route is electrified.
“Once complete, electrification will enable a faster, more reliable rail service.”
First TransPennine Express programme director Chris Nutton said: “We recognise the importance of rail connectivity across the regions and this line electrification is part of an unprecedented level of investment of the ray in the north.”