Mark Jenkinson is in la-la land in suggesting the railway from Workington to Keswick could reopen (Times & Star front page, May 29). The track bed to Keswick was used for the new A66 in the 70s. To reopen the railway you would need to close the A66 and put all the traffic back on the old road. Fantasy.

The A66 was upgraded to link the steel industry in Workington and Teesside. It had barely opened when Mrs Thatcher and Ian MacGregor shut down the ironworks and the brand new Chapel Bank foundry. So the A66 carries less industrial traffic now than the old road did before the 1970s upgrade.

It’s the coastal railway and A595/6 corridor linking the main industrial centres from Carlisle via West Cumberland to Barrow that need to be developed to promote locally-based economic activity and parts of that road are now the busiest in Cumbria – with the highest accident rate.

Despite this, the Government’s Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) for the period 2020-2025 has dropped much-needed investment in the A595, including the Whitehaven relief road.

The minister stated: “Early development work has shown that, as proposed, this scheme would be unlikely to secure good value for taxpayers and there was strong competition amongst other proposals for the funding available for road enhancements in the RIS2 period.”

So much for Conservative promises.



It is apparent that MP Mark Jenkinson shares the same trait as Boris Johnston: good soundbites, but lacking in detail.

A few weeks ago, he mused, that Silloth railway station could be re-opened. Now his latest utterance is reopening the Keswick to Penrith railway line.

This is sheer pie in the sky. Before closure I had worked at every station, from Keswick to Penrith, and the dwindling numbers of passengers made economical common sense to close the line.

The National Trust have created a pathway for ramblers from Keswick station to Threlkeld, but unfortunately, all the bridges were destroyed beyond Threlkeld, due to the massive flood five years ago.


Seaton, Workington

Taking lead from Trump

This is a letter I sent to Mark Jenkinson MP.

Thank you for your letter of May 28 in reply to my email about Dominic Cummings.

You blame the media for people’s reactions to Mr Cummings’s trip from London to Durham with Covid-19 and to his carefully staged Downing Street justification for this wrongdoing. You say media coverage has been “hysterical”, a “witch hunt”, “politically motivated” and “false reporting”.

You are an inexperienced MP but it’s unfortunate that you need to be reminded that attacks on a free press doing a good job are an attack on democracy and the British way of life. It’s a slippery slope. A young journalist has recently been hounded out of Barrow for doing her job – writing the kind of thing that is in the Times & Star every week.

When they discovered that Mr Cummings had not ‘Stayed Home, Protected the NHS and Saved Lives’, the Daily Mirror and Guardian tried for weeks to get the government to comment before they went public. The government just wanted to cover it up.

Let me ask you about bad journalism and cover ups. What do you think about the following?

On April 14, the day he went back to London, Mr Cummings falsified an article he had written online a year earlier about pandemics to add a reference to coronaviruses.

An article by Mary Wakefield (Mrs Cummings) in The Spectator magazine about their experience of being ill deliberately misled people into thinking they had been at home in London. It is now being investigated by the press regulator.

Journalist Boris Johnson’s record in the trade is terrible. He was even sacked from The Times for making something up.

Many Tory backbenchers have shown that when the time comes to have some independence of mind they do the right thing. It’s very disappointing that you have chosen to take a lead from the cult of Trump. This is not America. People in West Cumbria deserve better.




I read with interest your letters regarding Mr. Cummings trip to Durham and the number of incandescent letters against him doing it (Times & Star, May 29).

I wondered if this is the new Brexit the former remainers are nailing their flag to.

It is also interesting that Emily Maitlis (the well-known impartial news political commentator) on Newsnight retweeted the Labour Party statement that “There cannot be one rule for Dominic Cummings and another for the British people”. Later she said that “Dominic Cummings had left the British public feeling like fools.”

I did not notice any extreme outrage when Stephen Kinnock went from London to see his father Neil Kinnock in south Wales, Has he left the British public feeling like fools? Also Rosie Duffield a Labour MP and whip who also broke quarantine rules to visit her boyfriend.

This all looks very hypocritical to me.


Seaton, Workington

Scouts thank all volunteers

Volunteers are always important. But in challenging times, when our communities need them most, they are invaluable.

I’m so proud of the Scout volunteers in Workington. Together, they are helping hundreds of young people to gain skills for life – helping them speak up, play their part and find their place in the world.

To keep everyone safe, Scouts aren’t able to meet face to face. But this hasn’t stopped our volunteers from supporting young people.

So many of our brilliant leaders are still running meetings online, helping Scouts catch up with their friends and continue to earn their awards.

These sessions are providing a sense of normality and continuity that is so important for their wellbeing.

We have also been supporting families across Workington with free resources at #TheGreatIndoors.

So I’d like to say a huge thank you to all our volunteers. Whether they drive the minibus, make the drinks, look after the accounts or help deliver vital skills for life, we couldn’t do it without them!

Your kindness and resilience are really making a difference.


UK Chief Commissioner, The Scouts

Glory be

A REVIVAL of our spirituality is sweeping the land. Grandparents are leading the surge as Covid-19 lockdowns are relaxed, allowing family reunions to happen.

Our getting-and-spending shopping habits are also undergoing a massive overhaul. Trying to find a shorter queue is slowly sucking the life out of what used to be, for some, a consumerist social pleasure. Whatever it was I came down town for, is it really worth the wait?

Wearing a face mask has also become a head-count. However much it is derided, it is ignored by many, but for us, who was and who isn’t wearing ’em is always a ride-home topic.

Glory be is on the lips of church-goers as we wonder when we can sing or pray together in worship. Considering the logistics for huge gatherings like the Keswick Convention, we might be the last, but we come with a promise. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness sake, for they shall be filled.