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Keswick to Penrith Railway Re-opening

Project Progress

A brief history

1995:
Re-opening between Keswick and Penrith first proposed by Cedric Martindale as a cooperative venture for local authorities, businesses and railway organisations in response to concerns about future traffic problems in the Lake District.
Some coverage in Railnews and brief mentions elsewhere.
Lake District Traffic Management Initiative calls together representatives of local authorities and other bodies to follow up the proposals.
Some coverage in Railnews and brief mentions elsewhere.
Lake District Traffic Management Initiative calls together representatives of local authorities and other bodies to follow up the proposals.


1996:            
Local Authorities jointly fund independent "pre-feasibility study" to test Cedric's ideas.

County Council Engineers confirm feasibility and costs.

Traffic potential not fully examined due to shortage of time and funds allocated to consultants.

Eden District Council announces objections to rail service cuts at Penrith by Virgin Trains.

BR Property Board advises old Parliamentary powers can not be used for reinstatement of the Railway.


1997: 
Cumbria County Council (the local Transport Authority) formally expressed interest but decided not to take the idea further. Promised future “non-financial” support.

First Updates issued. Mailing list established.
Media publicity starts.       

Cumbria Tourist Board expresses support for Keswick to Penrith reopening.

After three rounds of applications, each time requesting more information, Millennium (Lottery) Fund says CKP eligible for funds but no money available (funds apparently re-allocated to the Dome).

Heritage Lottery Fund says CKP qualifies for funding but refuses to give money because CKP does not own the Lake District National Park (heritage asset to which public access would be improved by CKP).

BR Property Board agrees to defer bridge demolition proposals (Mosedale Viaduct and others).

           

1998:            
CKP Railways Ltd (later plc) formed to develop the project independently.

Growing awareness, public talks and displays about the project start.

Survey in Keswick shows demand for 70,000 outward journeys per annum from 2.6% of residents.


1999:            
Successfully challenged a power cable scheme which would have used the trackbed into Keswick. C
able re-routed.

Deputy Prime Minister visits Keswick and comments on lack of east-west links in the Lake District.

Lake District National Park Authority proposes that Railtrack should reopen the Keswick to Penrith line. No result.


2000:            
First Prospectus launched - nearly 300 applications for Bonds each  between £100 and £2,500 in very limited timescale (legal limitations).

Second Prospectuses issued by CKP Railways plc towards end of year to build on the support.

Website launched.
 

2001:            
Project Executive Team starts work on design and associated work.

Trackbed helicopter digital mapping survey during the Foot and Mouth crisis (with the approval of DEFRA).

Design work on alignment, structures and stations commences.

Funds raised from sales of Bonds reach £155,000.

           

2002:    
Strategic Rail Authority decides not to provide any funding for CKP (or any other lines outside the existing National Network).

CKP gives written evidence to the Transport Select Committee study on Railways in northern England.

First financial returns from ticketing commission scheme with Chester le Track

Initial alignment design drawings and rehabilitation scheme for all structures completed by Corus for CKP Railways plc.

Virtual reality models of Keswick station and A66 / Beckses bridges completed by Corus for CKP Railways plc.

Penrith Partnership told that the town would be a “winner” from the CKP  reopening.


2003:            
Third Prospectus issued (this Offer of Bonds still remains open).

Planning application for Industrial estate road breaching trackbed at Flusco submitted. Nearly 170 objections made.

Deputy Prime Minister announces Keswick will be used to monitor the effectiveness of various regeneration programmes.

Corus completes Scheme Description Report (full technical assessment and costings for railway meeting all modern standards).

Keswick to Penrith Railway reopening listed as a supported project by the Keswick Area Partnership (Market Towns Initiative).


2004:            
Consultation on first stages of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) with local authorities, statutory bodies, etc.
Good reactions. 

Keswick nominated as a Beacon Town by the Countryside Agency.
Funds raised from sales of Bonds passes £300,000 mark.

Independent report commissioned by Eden District Council confirms CKP project is feasible, has wide support, and is progressing faster than publicly funded projects.Eden District Council approves roads scheme at Flusco cutting through trackbed despite receiving nearly 170 objections.

Deputy Prime Minister identifies key issues for Keswick's development as transport and affordable housing.

Strategic Rail Authority launches its "Community Railways" proposals.

Keswick Town Council feels “snubbed” by Eden’s handling of planning applications affecting the CKP trackbed.

Lake District National Park Authority starts repair work on bridge decks between Keswick and Threlkeld.


2005:            
Detailed programme of work on Environmental Impact Assessments throughout the year.

Meetings and consultations with owners of the trackbed.

Article in RAIL magazine by Richard Bowker suggests massive costs for CKP reopening. Corrections sent by CKP Railways plc but not published.

Identification of potential partners and funding sources for legal processes and construction.

Complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman about Eden District Council's handling of Flusco planning applications.


2006              
Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) announces support in principle for Keswick to Penrith reopening and appoints JMP Consultants to investigate the business case.

Corus continue to work on Environmental Impact Assessment, in co-operation with JMP.

Planning application received by Eden District Council for oil storage depot which would block the trackbed at Flusco. Approved despite objections from CKP, an MP, NWDA and dozens of other supporters.

Other planning applications which would interfere with trackbed at Flusco successfully fought and usefully amended.

Nearly £ 1/3 Million already invested in design and development of the Railway as well as about  20,000 hours of unpaid time on the part of CKP’s Directors.


2007:              
Environmental work continues with particular emphasis on the foot/cycle path between Keswick and Threlkeld, and overcoming new developments at Flusco – some new design work was required in this area after permission granted for developments by Eden District Council.

NWDA / JMP  Business Plan study results published.

Shows positive cost benefit ratios and value for money based on Department for Transport’s (DfT) limited criteria.
Report recognizes that there would be many other community and economic benefits which the DfT would not take into account..

Discusses methods of funding construction and operation.

Results based on all-day everyday train service to and from other destinations on the National Network, with a baseload of passengers,  revenue calculated at levels lower than parallel bus fares, and construction costs compared to National Network projects – without any design concessions or cost savings through working on a closed site.
CKP Railways happy that this shows the project is viable, comments that costs can be brought down by using best practice in planning and construction methods, and that revenue can be significantly more than the base case.

First meeting between CKP Railways and the new Chief Executive of Eden District Council in December 2007.                       

2008:
Keswick Town Council becomes the Railway Project's "Champion" in the public sector.
Discussions with Grant Rail (Construction Contractors about the next practical steps.
Noted the success of a French railway re-opening, driven by a small town's Mayor.
Keswick to Penrith Railway re-opening features on the BBC Politics Show (BBC North, 8th June 2008).
Lake District National Park Authority report “Low-carbon Lake District” identified specific areas of improvement for the development of a sustainable transport strategy including “...reintroduction of rail or light rail between Penrith, Keswick and Cockermouth”.
CKP Railways plc argues that the benefits of re-opening have been under-valued when comparing benefits identified by Network Rail for other re-openings against those which the Department for Transport recognises in its evaluations (See Update 40).
Trackbed protection does not amount to planning blight - discussed in Update 40.
Integration and sustainability principles highlighted. 
.
2009:
Eden District Council approves another planning application for an industrial unit which will obstruct the trackbed at the North Lakes Industrial Park at Flusco, despite protests and reminders that the Council has policies in place to protect railway trackbeds for possible re-opening. (Updates 42 and 43).
Bondholders agree to extend the term of the Bonds to 30th June 2015 (Update 42).
Trains to Keswick film re-released as a DVD with additional information (was originally sold as a VHS cassette).
Lake District National Park Authority releases its draft Local Development Framework (LDF) in which there is the following clear statement: “Disused railway lines will be protected from development that would compromise future reuse as viable transport routes”.  Elsewhere in that document the Keswick to Penrith route is specifically mentioned (reported in our Update 43).
Focus on sustainability issues in the Railway’s detailed design.
.
2010:
Cumbria County Council updated its Local Tranport Plan but made no specific commitment to the Keswick to Penrith Railway despite receiving several supportive submissions.
Lake District National Park Authority included protection of the route in its core policies under the Local Development Framework (LDF) 
.
2011:
An application to the Government's Regional Growth Fund was unsuccessful.
Various sources suggested that only about one quarter of all applications nationally were approved.
Transport fared slightly better in the second round than the first.
Other potential sources of public and private funding were slow to appear following the abolition of the Regional Development Agencies.
  
2014:
Planning Inspector upholds the LDNPA's refusal to allow "infilling" of a bridge over the trackbed at Highgate on the grounds that it would obstruct furture use of the route. 

 

To view key reports, see under "What Others said" on the "Why re-open the Railway" page.

Click here for "Why re-open the railway ?" page



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To view the JMP Report, go to "Business Plan"

We will publish a list of media reports about the project at a later date

Copyright 2007 - 2017, CKP Railways plc

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