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Investing in road, rail & transport

Invest in road, rail and sustainable travel to facilitate growth, productivity and inclusion

An effective transport infrastructure is key to moving people and goods around and through the county, and Cumbria benefits from strong North South connectivity via the M6 and West Coast Mainline – the busiest mixed-traffic railway in Europe, as well as a major Trans-Europe Network (TENS) route linking Scotland and London via the North West of England and West Midlands.

Photo of a train in motion on the West Coast Mainline

However, East West connections need further development. Over recent years there has been significant progress in infrastructure improvements, with commitments in place to do far more.

Key strategic objectives for CLEP’s Transport & Infrastructure Strategy Group:

  • Secure new investment in road infrastructure to support new and existing business and investment opportunities.
  • Secure improved services and new investment in rail to support current and future investment, but to also increase our access to UK markets and to promote greater connectivity within Cumbria
  • Secure the walking, cycling, local highway and public transport improvement that help people better access jobs, training, services and visitor destinations
  • A number of road and rail improvements are underway, committed or in the pipeline. There is also work on developing a ports policy to maximise the usage of our Ports and Harbours.

Roads – Contracted 

  • South Ulverston Infrastructure - 4.1million upgrade investment
  • Kendal Transport Infrastructure - 2.3million investment
  • Devolved Majors - 7.6million of Local Transport Authority schemes
  • Port of Workington - 2million investment in road infrastructure
  • Carlisle Southern Link Road - 102million of Housing Infrastructure Fund monies for this route which will open up access to develop 10,000 homes at St Cuthbert's Garden Village.
  • A595 Grizebeck Improvements - 15million (2.25m from CLEP) investment to remove bottleneck

A photo of Whitehaven Harbour

Roads - Future Priorities

  • A66 Northern TransPennine and Whitehaven Relief Road 
  • A595 Bothel Improvements Scheme - MRN, TfN Priority
  • Kendal Northern Access Route - Large Local Majors Scheme, TfN
  • A590 Furness Peninsula – identifying opportunities to fund


Ensure future connectivity via Oxenholme, Penrith and Carlisle to high speed and direct train services
Cumbria Coastal Rail Upgrade
£8.35m Funding allocated for development of the business case (10% CLEP)
Next objective: securing funding for the delivery of the upgrade
Lakes Line
New rolling stock
Two or more trains per hour with direct connections
Furness Line
New rolling stock, improved service

CASE STUDY: Carlisle Lake District Airport

Cumbria is home to several internationally significant employers, as well as the Lake District National Park – an international tourism destination recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status.

Until this summer, no direct commercial passenger airline services to Cumbria were available, and the limited national and international connectivity served as a barrier to growth. Local Growth Fund support of £4.95 million helped unlock commercial flights, improving connectivity into and from the county, to deliver associated economic benefits.

Aerial photograph of Carlisle Airport, with runway and countryside visible in the distance

The project delivered significant airport infrastructure improvements, including a major rehabilitation of the airport’s runway, the creation of a passenger terminal facility, and provision of car parking services. These developments enabled the first commercial flights to and from the region in more than 25 years.

The airport currently services Dublin, which offers excellent connectivity to and from the US, London Southend Airport and Belfast City Airport. These links provide Cumbrian businesses, residents and visitors with access to a wide range of other areas, delivering new jobs and skills for the region.

The investment created 69,725m2 of employment space, safeguarded 21 jobs, and is forecast to achieve the creation of 29 additional job opportunities. £10,156,511 of direct private sector funding was levered through the project, with expectations to lead to a further £32 million of GVA forecast for the Cumbrian economy.

A photo of a man sitting at a platform bench, reading a newspaper, at Workington Train Station

CASE STUDY: Maryport and Workington Station Hubs

West Cumbria is the focus for potentially significant future development, which will generate demand for the movement of people and goods along the ‘Energy Coast’. It was identified that congestion on main road routes in West Cumbria represented a barrier to this potential growth. This £4.8 million Local Growth Fund scheme delivered improvements to the accessibility of the Cumbria Coastal Rail Line at Maryport and Workington stations, aimed at relieving that congestion.

Improved infrastructure was delivered, comprising a total of 221 car parking spaces across the two sites, new access arrangements, enlarged pick up and drop off facilities, designated blue badge parking, new and improved pedestrian and cycle links, covered cycle parking, enhanced public realm and a new multi-use games area.

The overall improvements were designed to increase the use of sustainable travel in the area and unlock employment sites along the coast to key employers. In addition to the infrastructure benefits identified, increased use of sustainable travel through the railway itself, as well as the ease of access by sustainable modes, will contribute to the low carbon agenda.

The Community Rail Partnership (CRP) noted that at Maryport, the Hub enabled the CRP to refurbish the platform and station grounds, as well as a community project to give the station a Roman themed identity. Both Hubs are considered to have transformed the visual ‘Gateway’ to the towns they serve.

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