THE last portion of the high-speed link to Leeds is not going ahead. So there is, presumably, a bit of money from HS2 in the pot.

In the North we were promised ‘levelling up’. Cumbria is in the North and we could do with a bit of levelling up.

The train journey from Whitehaven to Newcastle is neither fast, comfortable, frequent nor economic. In the long run, because of global warming this line will have to be either electrified or closed.

I propose that a levelling-up solution is to do the electrification now, rather than later.

The line is already in existence so the costs of electrification per mile will be a fraction of that of constructing a high-speed line from scratch.

Electrifying the route will require a variety of local skilled jobs. Many of these skills are already around in West Cumbria and Carlisle.

Some of these people travel on a Monday morning, back on Friday, by minibus 250 miles south to work on rail projects nearer London.

So what’s not to like about getting a proper environmentally-friendly connection between Newcastle and three Cumbrian constituencies currently held by Conservative MPs?

Geoff Faux