Trains could again travel between Carlisle and Galashiels and Penrith and Keswick - but other lines have a stronger case for reopening.

This is the conclusion of a report by the charity Campaign for Better Transport (CBT).

CBT this week called on the government to invest £4.8bn in expanding the rail network to reach “the most disconnected and disadvantaged communities”.

Its report, The Case For Expanding the Rail Network, outlines how a national reopening programme could initially create 33 new lines, allowing an additional 20m passenger journeys a year by bringing more than 500,000 people within walking distance of a station.

The report argues that these schemes should be prioritised because they best meet the pressure group’s criteria for investment based on their viability and social, economic and environmental benefits.

CBT analysed more than 200 schemes. As well as the 33 it regards as most viable, it classes more than 80 others as Priority 2.

These are described as “feasible projects which require further development or changed circumstances to assist them in being taken forward”. Priority 2 lines include Carlisle-Galashiels and Penrith-Keswick.

Trains have not run between Carlisle and Galashiels since 1969. This was part of the Carlisle-Edinburgh Waverley Route. It was axed under the Beeching cuts which closed more than 5,000 miles of track and more than 2,000 stations.

Thirty miles of the Waverley Route, between Edinburgh and Tweedbank, reopened in 2015 as the Borders Railway. The reopening was predicated on annual passenger numbers of 650,000. Actual numbers reached 1.45m in year three.

Report author Andrew Allen told The Cumberland News: “There’s a few of this type of scheme [Carlisle-Galashiels], primarily through a rural area. You’ve got to create through traffic, probably with tourists, because these lines are not serving populations of a large enough size.

“The Scottish Government may have underestimated the demand going down to Galashiels. But there are quite a few sizeable towns between Edinburgh and Galashiels.

“There are not so many between Galashiels and Carlisle.”

The Penrith-Keswick line’s 18 miles closed in 1972. The CBT report acknowledges that reopening it would reduce pressure on roads and parking in a part of the Lake District where these are major considerations.

Mr Allen added: “Penrith-Keswick relies on slightly uncertain traffic. You’ve got to get a lot of tourists. Looking at it critically, it’s a major piece of engineering in a national park to serve a town of 5,000 people [Keswick].

“You need to make a good case that there would be enough tourist traffic.”

Of the report in general, he said: “We’re trying to drag the government off the fence.

“The Department for Transport has talked about reopenings with private sector finance.

“If you look at the social, economic and environmental benefits, there is a strong case for using public money.”