Cumbria County Council, the local authority responsible for public transport in Cumbria, has welcomed a scheme that will see additional carriages normally used for Manchester commuters brought into the county to help cope with extra demand at the height of the tourist season.
Cumbria has over 40 million tourist visitors a year and 35 million of those are day trippers. Visitor numbers and the subsequent demand for public transport traditionally swell in the summer months, which is also a time when commuter numbers in major cities drop as workers enjoy a holiday.
Therefore the county council has been working alongside the Department for Transport and Northern Rail on a scheme which will see some carriages transferred from Manchester to the Cumbrian Coast route from 23 July to 31 August.
It won't mean any change to train timetables, but it will mean the trains running in Cumbria can carry more passengers.
Cllr Tim Knowles, Cumbria County Council's Cabinet member responsible for transport, said:
"I'm delighted that we're thinking across county boundaries on the best way to deliver rail services to passengers. The county council has been lobbying hard to avoid any erosion of rail services in Cumbria, particularly after new franchise arrangements come into force in 2014. This scheme is a great example of us working closely with the Department for Transport, other regional transport authorities and train operators to come up with a solution which makes sense for everyone.
"We do have some concerns about whether the 'normal' capacity on this line is sufficient as it is often standing room only when the train only has one carriage. We will continue to lobby for extra capacity, but this new scheme is a positive start."
Lee Wasnidge, Area Director for Northern Rail said:
"It’s encouraging to have the opportunity to offer the additional carriages available in Manchester to Cumbria during its busy holiday season. With a decrease in commuter numbers in Manchester during the summer, we are able to temporarily share these extra carriages to help with the influx of holiday makers into Cumbria.
"We’ll be working hard to keep our passengers up to date with the scheme whilst monitoring numbers and performance closely to ensure every passenger is accommodated."
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