UP TO £7.5 million of Government funding will support a study examining the next stage of upgrades on the Cumbrian Coast line.

The contribution is backed by £835,000 from the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The funding will enable Network Rail to further define required improvements to the line, in particular creating space for additional freight workings. The business case for the funding was developed by the LEP and Cumbria County Council working with partners including Transport for the North and Network Rail. The next stage will see Network Rail define the upgrades required and produce a business case for funding these, which will take around two years to complete.

Freight capacity on the Cumbrian Coast has recently been in the spotlight after Cumbria County Council granted planning permission for West Cumbria Mining to develop a new deep coal mine at Woodhouse Colliery, south of Whitehaven. The site, which could start producing coal in late 2021, would use rail to transport metallurgical coal within the UK, with additional capacity needed to accommodate the proposed six trains per day.