THE CHAIR of Cumbria Tourism has shared his fears over the way people will get to visit the county over the Easter period as rail services continue to be affected by several issues.

Network Rail will be using the Bank Holidays to tend to maintenance works on tracks, and other operators are suffering from strike action and staff absences due to Covid.

The rail repairs come amid warnings that M6 northbound towards Penrith and Carlisle face heavy traffic over the Easter weekend. 

READ MORE: Easter delays expected due to road repairs

Discussing the weekend, Jim Walker said: “We’re expecting a busy Easter weekend after the difficult time we had with the pandemic.

“The sad thing is that we’re trying to encourage people to use sustainable transport and because of the issues, a lot of services will not be running. This will put people off using public transport to get to the Lakes.

“It gives the impression that public transport is unreliable and, in this time where we want people to get back on public transport, they may choose to stop using buses and trains.”

When asked if there has been any communication with operators to ensure an easier way for visitors to travel, Jim continued: “We keep a close relationship with the operators that run services in the county. We’re keen as a tourist board to encourage easy access using the rail network.

READ MORE: Northern Rail apologises after Carlisle services cancelled

“To travel by public transport, people need to be confident and these issues that are cropping up are not inspiring confidence which is disappointing.

“Rail companies are saying that uptake on rail travel is significantly less than before the pandemic and it may be difficult for figures to rise up.”

Northern is advising customers travelling this weekend to check before they travel and be flexible with their journeys.

Trains are expected to be busy between Friday 15 and Monday, April 18 across the network.

Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern, said: “We know the bank holiday provides a great opportunity for people to get out, explore, and enjoy all the North has to offer.

“We’re doing all we can to prepare for the weekend and are also asking our customers to plan ahead, expect services to be busy, allow extra time for journeys and, where possible, to avoid travelling during the busiest times.”

Network Rail have been approached for comment.


READ MORE: Strike action to cause disruption to TransPennine Express services