TWO major transport projects could be funded in Cumbria if the Government's controversial HS2 high speed rail link was scrapped, a new report has claimed.

A £30m upgrade of the Carlisle to Settle line and a £110m reinstatement of the Keswick to Penrith railway are among 28 alternatives set out by the Taxpayers' Alliance.

It claims that funding transport infrastructure improvements across the country would be a better use of the £50bn-plus that is likely to be spent on High Speed 2, and bring more travel benefits.

Former Cabinet Minister David Davis MP will today launch a report detailing 28 local and national transport infrastructure projects that could instead be funded if HS2 was scrapped.

After asking for bids from across the country, industry experts were asked to assess all of the schemes and determine the best way to use taxpayers money to improve the transport network.

They deemed that spending £30m on the Carlisle to Settle passenger railway, to increase the maximum speed to 90mph, and £110m to reopen the former Keswick to Penrith railway would be a stronger use of resources.

Together all 28 projects are estimated to cost £45.1bn - much less than HS2.

The Friends of Settle and Carlisle Railway, which submitted one of the successful bids, said: "This will create a new intercity route from Leeds to Carlisle, connecting with engineering works in Glasgow and South Western Railway, via Dumfries and Kilmarnock."

Taking five years to complete, the proposal would free up capacity elsewhere in the rail network and improve travel times.

Meanwhile, campaigners say that reopening the Keswick to Penrith would cut congestion in the Lake District and create new links to the wider rail network.

Cedric Martindale, from CKP Railways, submitted this successful bid, estimating that work would take three to four years to complete.

He added: "Rail passenger services ran between Keswick and Penrith until ceasing in 1972.

"Much of the trackbed and many of the existing structures remain in place.

"The amount of congestion caused by cars is a significant issue in the Lake District and led to the proposal to reopen the railway. The scheme will reduce air pollution by taking cars off the road and would help grow the tourism industry in the area."

The Taxpayers' Alliance, said relatively small sums of money could bring vast benefits to communities.

It added: "The case for scrapping HS2 gets stronger by the day. With latest evidence suggesting that costs could almost double, taxpayers are demanding more for their money. Even on current estimates, scrapping HS2 would free up at least £50bn to improve transport links up and down the country."