West Coast provides free Lakes line service

NEWS that Windermere would be without its regular train service for several weeks as a result of the Northern Rail timetable crisis has led to the West Coast Railway Company (WCRC) stepping in to provide a free service.

Growing local concern that since the timetable change on May 20 use of buses rather than trains would seriously damage the tourist industry in and around Windermere was highlighted by Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron, who contacted WCRC managing director Pat Marshall to ask if there was anything the charter train operator could do.

WCRC Class 37 No. 37669 passes an ungated level crossing near Burneside on June 19. PETER AINSWORTH

As a result, on June 17, WCRC ran a morning and afternoon test and route-learning trip from Oxenholme Lake District station, using Class 37 No. 37669 and Class 57 No. 57316 in top-and-tail mode with three Mk2 carriages, and the afternoon workings carrying passengers for free.

The next day, June 18, West Coast ran six return trips from Monday to Friday, with buses supplementing these trains.

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