Lancaster group calls for electrification of railway from West Coast Main Line to Morecambe
Lancaster Vision believe that Eden North, with projected visitor numbers of up to one million a year, strengthens the grounds for the electrification of the railway from the West Coast Main Line to Morecambe.
They say it would also celebrate the fact that the Lancaster to Morecambe and then Heysham line was the first line in the UK to be electrified in 1908 when Morecambe became part of a local network of experimental electric trains connecting Morecambe Promenade and Heysham Harbour to Lancaster Green Ayre and Castle stations.
Lancaster Vision is a subgroup of Lancaster Civic Society and was established in 2012 by members who identified, because of concerns over the future of the castle, the need for an organization to help secure a better future for the city and its surroundings.
A spokesman for the group said: "Morecambe rail station is situated only a few hundred yards from the site of the proposed Eden Project but, apart from a few daily trains to Leeds, offers only a diesel train service to Lancaster.
"It is disappointing that visitors to the Eden Project should have to arrive by road or change from a modern electric train onto a diesel shuttle from Lancaster. Yet the electrified West Coast Main Line lies only two miles away just beyond Bare Lane station.
"The cost of electrifying this short stretch of rail would be modest in terms of Network Rail’s overall investment programme
"Currently the Morecambe line appears to be the only branch line north of Preston for which there has been no announced environmental improvement programme.
"Electric/Battery powered trains have been suggested for the Windermere and Barrow lines. If the route from the West Coast Main Line to Morecambe were electrified, through trains from Manchester, Manchester Airport, Liverpool, Birmingham and even London would be possible providing sustainable connectivity to Eden North.
"To eliminate congestion and parking problems in Morecambe a shuttle bus from junction 34 of the M6 has been suggested. We believe an improved rail service should also be considered
"Accordingly, we call upon the city and county councils and our MPs to lobby for the electrification of this route."