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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Train man’s links to West Cumbria are the ticket to a London service

Ian Yeowart knows all about the positive impact that his company’s plans to run direct trains from West Cumbria to London will have on the area.

IAN Yeowart knows all about the positive impact that his company’s plans to run direct trains from West Cumbria to London will have on the area.

He has strong ties to West Cumbria with his father Reg and mother Pat both being born in the county.

Three of his five brothers were born in West Cumbria.

Alliance Rail Holdings, where Ian is managing director, recently revealed plans to run three Pendalino trains a day to the capital from 2016.

The project has captured the imagination of business people across West Cumbria who are looking forward to cutting journey times.

Alliance Rail, part of the Arriva group, says that funding is in place, and it is now awaiting approval from the Office of Rail Regulation.

Ian, 59, who lives in York with his wife Sue, says: “We see it as a way of opening up the West Cumbrian coast to people who wouldn’t normally go anywhere near it.

“The fact that people can get a quick train in and out of the area is very important.

“It will be quite a buzz when you are at Workington train station and you see ‘London’ on the board.”

Ian, who was born in Aylesbury, Bedfordshire, has his roots firmly embedded in the railway industry.

His grandfather on his mother’s side was the station master at Maryport railway station, but he admits he knows little about him because he died while Ian was young.

His father, who now lives in Silloth with Ian’s mum, also had a long career working with trains. The job saw the family move regularly to different parts of the country.

Some of his roles included being a signalman in Leighton Buzzard and station master at Warrington Bank Quay.

Ian’s own career started in a bank but after nine months he decided it wasn’t for him.

In 1973 he joined the Toton Diesel Depot in Nottinghamshire, one of the largest rail depots in the UK, and his career has taken him all over the country.

He rose through the rail industry to become travel centre manager in York, then area retail manager in Sheffield and company safety manager for Regional Railways North East.

In 1994 he left the publicly owned British Rail to work in the privatised rail network.

Ian founded both the Grand Central Railway Company and the Great North Eastern Railway Company (GNER) in 1994.

The GNER name was later sold to Sea Containers and, while under Ian’s leadership, Grand Central secured rights to operate services on the East Coast Main Line between Sunderland and London in 2006 and later in 2009 between Bradford and London.

Ian founded Alliance Rail Holdings in 2009, with the aim of restoring and introducing new direct inter-city rail services between London and northern towns and cities.

The next project for Alliance Rail is to run trains from West Cumbria to London, with plans now at an advanced stage.

However, Ian says it can be a long process.

He says: “It took Grand Central seven years to get it off the ground.

“It’s a long drawn out process, railways are like that.

“Now is the time for businesses to stand up and show their support.”

The high-speed service would run from Carlisle to Euston via Maryport and Workington stations.

The new west coast service would start at Carlisle, calling at Wigton, Maryport, Workington, Whitehaven, Millom, Barrow, Ulverston and Lancaster, before joining the West Coast Main Line from Preston to London.

Alliance Rail would use Pendalinos which are used by Virgin on the West Coast Main Line.

It said the West Cumbria track would be upgraded and it was working closely with Network Rail.

Have your say

This would be great!

The obvious question would be how an electric Pendolino would be powered along the (non-electrified) coast line. Even the well-used Furness main line from Carnforth to Barrow is not proposed to be part of the north-west electrification project (yet bizarrely the less well-used Windermere branch is)

Posted by Mark Green on 2 August 2013 at 11:49

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