Lakes Line trains suspension sparks protest

Tim Farron at protest Image copyright Glenys Marriott
Image caption Tim Farron is the Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale

A Cumbrian MP is leading a protest march along stations on the temporarily closed Lakes Line.

It follows the decision by Northern Rail to suspend services between Windermere and Oxenholme until 2 July.

Tim Farron, who is calling for the operator to be stripped of its franchise, met dozens of protesters at Windermere station.

They have set off to walk the 12 miles to Oxenholme, calling at every station along the way.

Image copyright Beth Pipe
Image caption Mr Farron has called for Northern to be stripped of its franchise

The former Liberal Democrat leader said: "We will not lie down and roll over while the Lakes Line is being killed by stealth."

A replacement bus service has been in operation between all the stations on the route but there have been complaints about delays and overcrowding.

Image copyright Workington Transport Heritage Trust
Image caption A bus replacement service has been in operation since Monday

Northern Rail said it had introduced introduced temporary timetables on several routes in the North West "to give customers much more certainty about the services we will run".

It added in a statement: "From Monday 11 June, we will be increasing the frequency of coaches in operation between stations on the Lakes Line to give our customers even greater flexibility and help them plan onward journeys with confidence.

"We will continue to run coaches for another two weeks until Monday 2 July and are working extremely hard on the backlog of driver training caused by the late production of the Network Rail timetable and will announce details of our plans beyond 2 July as soon as possible."

Image copyright Tim Farron

Mr Farron, the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, has also criticised the decision to appoint as CBE the chief executive of Network Rail.

He described it as a "slap in the face" and said Mark Carne should have turned down the honour.

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