Railways of Cumbria
- Patrick Bennett
15th May 2022
No fewer than sixteen pre-grouping companies were represented within Cumbria’s borders, seven of these in Carlisle alone. To the east of the mountains are the great Anglo-Scottish lines of the London and North Western and the Midland. Venturing across the Pennines were the transversal routes of the North Eastern Railway, from Newcastle to Carlisle, and Darlington to Tebay and Penrith.
The Cumbrian coast presents a completely different picture. Here the multiple competing companies were concerned principally with the transport of coal and mineral ores to serve the huge industrial complexes to the west and south. The two principal coastal lines were the Maryport and Carlisle in the north and the Furness in the west and south. In the Whitehaven/Workington hinterland there was a number of other railways, all concerned with mineral extraction and transport.
Lines penetrating the interior of the Lake District were the Coniston, Lakeside and Windermere branches and the Cockermouth, Keswick & Penrith Railway that crossed the Lake District from west to east. In the north were the Caledonian with its main line to Carlisle and the short-lived Solway Junction Railway, and the North British with the Waverley, Port Carlisle, and Silloth lines. The Glasgow and South Western also ran trains into Glasgow.
The history, development, and in some cases closure of each of these lines is described in turn, illustrated with a selection of photographs from different periods in their history.