Frequently asked questions

Last updated 18 January 2021

What have you been doing to reconnect the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path?

The floods in December 2015 caused extensive damage to the path: two bridges that cross the River Greta and around 200m of path were washed away and Rawsome Bridge was later closed to ensure public safety. There was also significant damage to the river banks.

Our initial priority was to make sections of the path and bridges safe and also find alternative routes for users.

We now have funding and planning consents in place for the permanent reconnection of the route. This will include rebuilding and repairing the remaining 5 kilometres of the trail, and the re-opening and extending of the ‘big tunnel’. Additionally two new bridges will be constructed and another will be extensively repaired and improved. Also, 200 metres of brand new path will be created and work will be carried out to stabilise the river bank and repairing drains and walls along the way.

Why is the reconnection of the route taking so long to complete?

The damage to the route was within the wider context of the 2015 flood damage to the public right of way network across the whole of the National Park. As a result of the floods, 560km of 3100km of paths were affected, resulting in a full programme of flood recovery and resilience work, which is still ongoing.

The significant damage caused to the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway path has given us a number of complex challenges to address including the high cost of the project, funding challenges, flood resilience, river access, environmental obligations and riverbank stabilisation.

We have had to ensure alternative routes are available to route users, and continue to work with partner organisations and neighbouring landowners to find further routes that benefit the community and visitors.

Please see our latest map with alternative routes.

Who will carry out the work?

Cubby Construction Limited are carrying out the work to create a the new trail between Keswick and Threlkeld along the old railway line.

What are you doing to reconnect the route?

The original trail suffered extensive damage during the floods in December 2015.  Two of the old railway bridges that cross the River Greta and around 200 metres of the trail surface were washed away, and Rawsome Bridge was left at risk of collapse. This presented us with many complex challenges and we have had to adopt a fully-considered approach to reconnect the route in a sustainable, robust way that will secure access for the long-term enjoyment of all users.

The works include rebuilding and repairing the 5 kilometres of the existing trail: re-opening and extending the Big Tunnel (Bobbin Tunnel). Two new bridges have been constructed and Rawsome’s Bridge has been repaired. We have also created 200 metres of brand new path and work will be carried out to stabilise the river bank and repairing drains and walls along the way to protect the trail and surrounding land from future flooding events.

How will you fund the repair and recovery of the route?

A £7.9 million funding package has been agreed to allow work to start on the final phase of reconnecting the Keswick to Threlkeld trail. Funding has been received from Highways England, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) and Northern Powerhouse. Additionally, community fundraising by the Lake District Foundation has resulted in a £130,000 donation.

Will the route be closed during reconnection work?

From Tuesday 27 August 2019 the route will be fully closed while on-site work activity increases, including the frequency and volume of machinery moving materials onto the site and particularly at Keswick Station. It was inevitable that this section of route would have to close and the entire work site will be subject to the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, which govern how a construction site must be managed to protect workers and anyone the work affects from harm. The health and safety of the site will be the responsibility of our contractor – Cubby Ltd.

There are no current plans for sections of the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Trail to be opened before the planned completion date of December 2020. The management of the site is currently the responsibility of our contractor, Cubby Limited, and as such, under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, the trail is a construction site and must be managed to protect workers and the general public from being injured or harmed by construction activity. This includes safe-working in relation to Covid-19.

If the situation were to change, we will keep people informed through our website, in the Keswick Reminder and regular emails (to subscribers) throughout the remainder of the project; this would include information about any opportunities to reopen sections where it can be done in a safe, compliant and practical way.

How long will it take?

We plan to have completed the work by the end of 2020.

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