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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Rallying cry goes out for companies to join battle to save south Cumbria rail services

A RALLYING cry has gone out for Furness companies to join the battle to save south Cumbria rail services.

The future of through train services between Barrow and other stations on the Furness line and Manchester Airport is under threat following further reductions in the December 2013 to May 2014 timetable and the prospect of more cuts in future timetables.

Manchester Airport Group and Ulverston-based GSK are fully behind the Cumbria Better Connected campaign which was instigated by Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock.

Now other businesses in Furness are being asked to put their weight behind the crusade ahead of a special conference at Barrow town hall being organised jointly with the Furness Line Community Rail Partnership on Friday January 17.

Mr Woodcock said: “We need to focus on getting the recent changes reversed and campaign for the longer term electrification of the line to safeguard through trains and connections. The conference is an ideal opportunity for the organisations and businesses who depend on good rail services on the Furness line to get involved in this important campaign.”

Mr Robinson of Furness Line Community Rail Partnership added: “Now is a crucial time to influence decisions on the future of the railway in Furness and south Cumbria. For this relatively isolated part of the North West an efficient rail service providing high quality links with the regional capital and airport is vital to the success of the local economy and the community it supports."

For GSK transport infrastructure is one of the vital strategic themes for location and with the site’s growth and new people being attracted to the region transport will play a key role.

Speakers at the conference include:

Peter Robinson, chairman of the Furness Line Community Rail Partnership

Harry Knowles, chief executive of Furness Enterprise

Chris Nutton, programme director of First TransPennine Express

Cllr Mark Wilson of Cumbria County Council

In a recent statement Manchester Airport Group said:

“Manchester Airport supports the development of improved rail links to all parts of our catchment area. Passengers and businesses in Cumbria deserve good access to all parts of the UK, including access to major international gateways such as Manchester Airport. We are delighted to support the efforts of Cumbria Better Connected in securing regular and reliable access to Manchester Airport.”

It is expected that a large number of delegates will attend to express their concerns at the reduction in through services to Manchester at a time when the economy of the Furness area is prospering with business expansion and investment.

For more information about the campaign or to send a statement of support ahead of the conference please call 01229 431204 or send an email to john.woodcock.mp@parliament.uk.

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