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Saturday, 02 August 2014

Public steamed up over threat to special trains

THE public has thrown its support behind a bid to keep steam trains running along the West Coast.

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UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Lakelander train returning from Sellafield to Ravenglass

The Evening Mail reported on Thursday that the future of special excursions running between Carnforth and Ravenglass was under threat.

It came after private charter train companies were told they could no longer use a turning triangle on the Sellafield Ltd site near Ravenglass, because of increased security restrictions at the site.

A spokesman for Sellafield Ltd said: “We have offered to join other partners, including West Cumbria Tourism, in exploring other ways in which future tours can successfully operate.”

This year and last year, one charter company alone brought four 450-passenger trains to West Cumbria, carrying visitors from all over the country.

Statesman Rail’s trips were so successful that the company hoped to double the number next year.

All passengers paid for tickets to visit either Muncaster Castle or the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway attraction.

Andy Chafe, marketing manager for Muncaster Castle, said: “We did everything we could to support the marketing of this year’s events and they were very successful, we would like them to continue. Obviously, they bring a considerable amount of people and income to the local economy.

“We will continue to help market anything which brings tourists to the area.”

Trevor Stockton, general manager of the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, said: “It will be a little bit sad if we don’t have the steam engines coming to the railway again, because it had a bit of kudos for us to have these trains arriving.

“We’d have people getting off the big trains and getting onto ours, and our train would have a toot with this huge steam engine tooting back.

“It’s a good bit of fun.

“I’m hoping it’s not dead in the water. I believe all parties are interested in finding a solution.”

The steam excursions are also supported by local residents.

David Anderson, 64, of Sandside, Kirkby, said: “There’s a lot of enthusiasm for the steam trains, you can tell that just from the number of people coming down in to the village and waving at them and taking pictures.

“It would be a shame not to see them any more.”

Have your say

I have written to Copeland MP about this but it is diffucult to know what to do or who to write to as Sellafield Ltd have (wrongly) played the "security card".

I am (or was) a railway photographer and exprienced the same blanket ban to railway photography after the 2005 tube bombs (arguements:bombers did reco photography covertly, everyone has a camera these days on mobile phones).Or put another way it is easy to use the issue of "security" to hide behind. Probably Sellafield Ltd just do not want the bother and expense of "silly train enthusiats". Your earlier corspondent had it right when he said "the terorists have won".

Also right is very correct arguements that West Cumbria looses out in the meagre train service over Cumbrian Coast line (witness problems over single carriage train etc).

Posted by Steven Foster on 5 October 2011 at 13:58

this might sound like a silly question but does the train need to turn around? could it not just travel backwards like the trains at haverthwaite do?

Posted by the fat controller on 3 October 2011 at 20:31

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