2016: Confusion over electrification of the Lakes Line

2016_lakes line.jpg-pwrt3

The Lakes Line

CONFUSION surrounds the long-awaited electrification of the Lakes Line – as a new report could delay work until 2024. The line, connecting Windermere with the West Coast main line at Oxenholme, had been due to be electrified by 2017. Now, a document called the Hendy Review has prompted an announcement from Government that work will be pushed back to ‘Control Period 6’, meaning electrification will not be finished until between 2019-2024.

But a Kendal-based train enthusiast has cast doubt over the announcement, saying that the decision has been made based on incorrect information. Malcolm Conway, chairman of TravelWatch North West, said that the Hendy Review puts the Lakes Line in the same bracket as other railway lines, such as the Bolton to Wigan service, where electrification work has not yet begun. But Mr Conway says work has started at Oxenholme, with more scheduled for April and May 2016, according to the Network Rail electrification timetable. He feels it is unlikely that if those behind the Hendy Review knew about this they would be happy to allow the work already conducted to lay idle for what could be close to a decade. TravelWatch NW is attending a meeting in Manchester on February 18 with Network Rail to discuss the issue.

The electrification of the Lakes Line was initially agreed during the previous coalition government, when Liberal Democrat Transport Minister Baroness Kramer announced a £16m investment package in the rail network.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron is deeply unhappy about the Hendy Report’s revelations, criticising the impact it could have on the local economy and infrastructure. “The electrification of the Lakes Line is an important infrastructure upgrade which will provide a real boost to the local area,” he said. “It makes economic and environmental sense, and will enable the line to be better integrated with the main line routes. “There is a sense of déjà vu in once more making the case for this to happen – it was given the go-ahead by the Lib Dems in government, but has now been delayed by the Conservatives. Once again, much-needed infrastructure investment in our area is being overlooked by the government, but I will continue to campaign for this.”

Westmorland Gazette, Friday 12 February 2016

Christine Hunter, writer and biographer

Selection of Christine Hunter titles …

Christine Hunter, born in 1910, was not only a schoolteacher, but also a writer and biographer. She is understood to have lived at Woodlands (no. 98) Helmside Road in later life.

Among her titles were:

Year Title
1952 Boy from Down Under
Bunty and Peter
Coutier Treasure
Escape to Adventure
1953 Mysterious Neighbours
1955 Come on Spencers
Michael Graham, Police Cadet
1956 Michael Graham, Police Constable
1957 Mystery of Tentenbury Manor
1960 Mystery of Cousin John
1966 Deep Waters
To Life Anew
1968 Years of Our Days
1969 Guiding Light
1972 Annalisa
Gladys Aylward
Secret of Tentenbury Manor
Sparks Flying Upward
1974 Anna’s Family
Bwana Masua
1976 Day Will Dawn
Winding Road

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Undeveloped Plots on Helmside Road

The undeveloped plots on Helmside Road. Photo copyright of Tony Hartley.

The photograph above, courtesy of Tony Hartley, shows the undeveloped plots which lie on the eastern side of Helmside Road, between number 53 (left-hand side) and number 47 (right-hand side). Immediately behind the undeveloped land are the properties on Scar View Road, then Bleaswood Road.

Long-time resident John Bateson tells us the properties were all built between 1968 and 1972 and that this particular piece of land was originally intended for the children’s playground. However, it was deemed to be too close to the road and so has remained undeveloped ever since.

8.8.88

In her fascinating short history of Oxenholme: The Railway Village (1995), Laura Oldham wrote about “Auntie Vi’s” shop and went on to say that Vi Atkinson ‘had an unusually distinctive birthday, beng born on the eighth day of the eighth month of 1888’.

However, further investigation reveals that Vi Atkinson, who was born Violet Emma Lord, was born on the eighth day of the eighth month, but in 1887 not 1888. Vi, who married Thomas Atkinson, died in 1978 aged 90. They lived at Helm Garth in Helmside Road.

But another Oxenholme resident, Florence Jellett, born Florence Caley, was born on the eighth day of the eighth month in 1888, according to her entry on the 1939 National Identity Register. Florence married railway porter George Jellett in 1918. They lived at 18 Helmside Cottages. Florence died in 1988, aged 99.

lord and jellett

1890: Porter killed at Oxenholme Junction

Another of those shocking accidents, which have during the past few years been numerous at Oxenholme Junction, occurred on Thursday evening. The unfortunate man was named William Langhorn, he was 25 years of age, and lived at Helmside, leaving a widow and three children to mourn his loss. The circumstances are very simple and are easily told. It appears that about 7-40 p.m., Langhorn was engaged in shunting operations at the north side of the station, near to the signal box, when he became caught between a horse box and a railway carriage. He was very much crushed, and expired almost immediately. Mr. Moffatt, station-master, and the foreman porter (Armitage) both witnessed the sad affair, which was quite an accident. The body was removed to one of the waiting-rooms to await an inquest.

Westmorland Gazette, 18 October 1890