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Campaigners fight to save First Transpennine train service

John Freeman

Users of the Windermere to Manchester train line are up in arms after First Transpennine they are cancelling a peak time commuter train service from Kendal to Lancaster - leaving a two hour hole in the timetable.

The decision means a lot of local people will be unable to continue to commute to work by train.

First Transpennine Express have decided to to withdraw the 5.30pm Kendal to Lancaster train (the 5.06pm train from Windermere to Manchester), from 10th February, leaving a two hour gap in the timetable during peak time from 4.24pm to 6.22pm.

"Many people rely on this train to commute to and from work," say campaigners, who are running an online petition asking the company to reverse its decision. "What will they do? Some people can change their working hours, others can't.

"Some people are considering giving up jobs that they won't be able to get to. Still others will be forced into cars or the near non-existent buses. If they start commuting by car, they won't come back to public transport, which will only increase our carbon use."

The decision to cancel the service has not been publicized by the train operator and will affect a lot of people, some of whom have been commuting to and from work for years. Users of the exisiting service also fear the loss of the peak time train probably will result in fewer passengers on the morning trains, giving the operator the perfect excuse to start cancelling those.

"What kind of so called economic madness is this?" commented one signatory to the petition. "I am sure Trans Pennine are doing this because it strengthens their bottom line but it will harm and damage the bottom line of many other people.

"Profiteering by passing on (externalising) the real costs of an action to others might be 'clever' in the narrowly defined way that an animal achieves a cunning kill is clever but it is an action that, from a human point of view, is both socially stupid and inept in anything but the shortest short-term context. And, in the long run, it is an act of economic suicide for all." 

"Commuters in any rural area should be concerned and support this petition," added another. "There is a dearth of regular public transport in many rural areas and proposed reductions such as this can only exacerbate the problem. A service to your community / workplace could easily be next on the rail 'chopping block'.

"The is the same idiotic kind of action that's on a par with Lancashire County councillors proposals to cut evening bus services," said another local commuter. "How will people get to work? It's high time our public servants put their faith and support into public transport."

• View and sign the petition here:

• Campaign Page on Facebook: