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Keswick to Penrith Railway Re-opening

Route Protection

In summer 2014, a Government Planning Inspector upheld protection of the Keswick to Penith Railway route by the Lake District National Park Authority.

The Inspector rejected an appeal to "infill" a bridge at Highgate - which would have blocked the tracked for any use and made re-instatement of the railway more expensive. 

This was a welcome decision because there could have been more similar applications in the future - avoiding the cost of repairing bridges for the County Council and other Authorities, but adding costs to the railway re-opening. 

Click here to read the news item in the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald

Lake District National Park policies protect the route from Keswick to Penruddock.

The rest of the route to Penrith is under the control of Eden District Council, whose policies are less clear-cut and which have not always been enforced in favour of the Railway.



For much of the Keswick to Penrith route, the trackbed (earthworks) and supporting bridges, culverts etc. still exist and need only relatively minor repairs. 

  • Clearing the trackbed of vegetation, attending to fencing and drainage, then relaying track, costs only about £1 million per mile
  • Buuilding the earthworks, small bridges, culverts etc (where they have been damaged or removed or need to bypass a major obstacle) would cost £ 2- 3 million per mile before track could be laid
  • Rebuilding bridges over the line which have been "infilled" or strengthened in a way which blocks the railway costs around £0.5 million per bridge
  • Replacing major bridges over rivers, main roads etc can cost from £1 million to £5 million per structure

Protecting the route - prohibiting damage to the earthworks and structures and preventing obstacles being built on it - therefore minimises the cost of re-opening the railway.

Local Authorites are not obliged to contribute to the re-opening costs, even if their planning policies and decisions have caused damage which increases the Railway's costs.

Additional costs harm the "business case" for the Railway and reduce the chances of getting private / independent funding.


Click here for the Business Case page

Policies to protect the route cost nothing, but they do make it easier to re-open the Railway

Not protecting the route suggests that Local Authorities are not interested in it re-opening

Ignoring Route Protection makes it MORE LIKELY that public funding will be needed in the future, not less 

Clcik here for "bridges and tunnels" page - information about "infilling" is near the bottom

Tha pamphlet "For Want of a Rail" published by Railfuture gives further examples of the costs which can be added to a Railway reinstatement by developments which obstruct the trackbed of former railway lines.

See our Links page.


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