Press release

Rail passengers in the north west set for bigger say

Furness Line designated as a community rail service.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Passengers in Cumbria and North Lancashire will have more say on how local rail services are run after the service designation of the Furness Line as a community rail service, Rail Minister Theresa Villiers announced today (1 June 2012).

Designation of the line between Barrow-in-Furness to Carnforth and on to Lancaster will enable train companies to work more closely with the Furness Line Community Rail Partnership to better design services to meet local needs.

Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said:

I want to encourage communities to become more closely involved with their railways to help create the services and stations passengers deserve.

That’s why I am delighted to announce this latest community rail service designation. Today’s designation is a major step towards helping the Furness Line Community Rail Partnership work closely with local groups to provide innovative and more cost effective rail services for their community.

Nick Donovan, Chief Executive of First TransPennine Express, commented:

This service designation is a first for a line on which our trains run and I welcome the even closer links between this company and the Furness Line Community Rail Partnership. Our team work last year already resulted in a major prize at the Community Rail awards and I’m sure that even more success can be achieved.

Ian Bevan, Managing Director of Northern Rail, which also runs services on the route, said:

The designation of the Furness Line is fantastic news for the local community. As this route is integral to the area, its designation ensures it will be developed to benefit local people and visitors to the region. We look forward to working with the community rail partnership to enable the route to prosper as much as possible.

Rob Terwey, Chairman of the Furness Line Community Rail Partnership said:

Community rail service designation for the Furness Line will help us to achieve even more for passengers on our line. We look forward to having greater flexibility and the opportunity to work more closely with the rail industry, users, local councils and others to maximise the benefit of rail services and station improvements around the shores of Morecambe Bay.

Notes for editors

The community rail development strategy looks at innovative ways of operating local branch lines, through a programme of cost management, a drive to increase passenger numbers and direct community involvement via local authorities, community rail partnerships, and other stakeholder groups.

To date, 18 lines with their services have been designated as community rail lines:

  • St Ives Bay Line: St Erth to St Ives June 2005. Selected as one of the 6 pilot projects.
  • Abbey Line: St Albans Abbey to Watford Junction June 2005. Selected as one of the 6 pilot projects.
  • Esk Valley Line: Middlesbrough to Whitby June 2005. Selected as one of the 6 pilot lines.
  • Tamar Valley Line: Plymouth to Gunnislake September 2005. Linked with Looe Valley as one of the 6 pilot projects.
  • Looe Valley Line: Liskeard to Looe September 2005. Linked with Tamar Valley as one of the 6 pilot projects.
  • Penistone Line: Barnsley to Huddersfield September 2005. Selected as one of the 6 pilot projects.
  • Island Line: Isle of Wight (Ryde to Shanklin), March 2006.
  • Tarka Line: Barnstaple to Cowley Junction Exeter, September 2006.
  • Maritime Line: Falmouth to Truro September 2006.
  • Derwent Valley: Derby to Matlock September 2006.
  • East Lancashire Line: Colne to Gannow Junction Burnley November 2006.
  • Gainsborough Line: Marks Tey to Sudbury November 2006
  • Barton Line: Barton-on-Humber to Ulceby N. Junction January 2007
  • Bittern Line: Norwich to Sheringham September 2007.
  • Lakes Line: Oxenholme - Windermere April 2008.
  • South Fylde Line: Blackpool South - Preston April 2008.
  • Lymington Line: Brockenhurst to Lymington July 2008
  • Preston to Ormskirk Line: Preston to Ormskirk September 2011

Additionally, 13 services have been designated as community rail services whilst not designating the lines on which they run. These services are designated when there are reasons why the infrastructure cannot be included in the designation - because it carries non local traffic or heavy freight or has previously been designated as part of the Trans European Network. To date the following services have been designated:

  • Poacher Line: Grantham to Skegness July 2006. Selected as one of the 6 pilot projects
  • Atlantic Coast Line: Newquay to Par September 2006
  • Marston Vale Line: Bletchley to Bedford November 2006
  • Wherry Lines : Norwich to Yarmouth February 2007
  • Wherry Lines: Norwich to Lowestoft February 2007
  • Clitheroe Line: Manchester to Clitheroe March 2007
  • Medway Valley Line: Paddock Wood to Strood September 2007
  • Severn Beach Line: Bristol Temple Meads to Severn Beach April 2008
  • North Staffordshire Line: Crewe to Derby via Stoke-on-Trent November 2008
  • Cumbrian Coast Line: Carlisle to Barrow-in-Furness September 2009
  • Bishop Line to Darlington to Bishop Auckland January 2011
  • Heart of Wessex Line: Bristol and Weymouth October 2011
  • Mid Cheshire: Chester and Manchester via Northwich January 2012

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Published 1 June 2012