Best places to view trains in north west area?

Franny P

New Member
Joined
15 Feb 2020
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2
Location
Burneside nr kendal
Hi everyone, my first post so please be gentle...

I've just started re kindling my interest in trains after being really into the hobby as a child and teenager (I'm 42 now) and some might say still not grown up :)

I'm based in Kendal, South Cumbria and have the odd trip up to Carlisle where there always seems to be some interesting sights....

I was just wondering if anyone could recommend anywhere within maybe an hour's drive or so of Kendal (50 miles ish) where i might be able to see and photograph trains?

Freight is my preferred type but I'm interested in anything really...

Thanks for any advice you may be able to give, messaging me in private is fine as well.

Thanks and keep well
Francis.
 
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Huntergreed

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16 Jan 2016
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Dumfries
Many places, most varied and interesting would probably be somewhere on the WCML over shap section. You have Carlisle, fantastic junction. Penrith and Oxenholme are intermediate stations along the route, get a good mix of stopping and fast services through. Lancaster is more varied with more services to the likes of Heysham and Barrow with most, but not all, WCML services stopping. If you want to venture slightly further south, Preston would be a great place with services to Blackpool, Manchester, Liverpool, WCML services which all stop, wide mix of freight. It depends what you're after really but the most varied would be the WCML.

You could also go for the windermere branch down from Oxenholme to Windermere, run by Northern, it's a small branch line which gets a decent service, stock isn't very varied however.

These are the main stations you can visit, there are also of course over and under bridges along the routes and plenty of other options depending on what you want to see.
 

Darandio

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24 Feb 2007
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Redcar
The Settle to Carlisle line is within your reach as well, although traffic will probably be fairly sparse. If somewhere like that was of interest then i'd advise just going a little bit further down to Hellifield, it's still within your range.
 

xotGD

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4 Feb 2017
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Don't forget the freight to and from Sellafield coming down the Cambrian coast. Arnside is a good photo location.
 

Condor7

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13 Jul 2012
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Penrith
You mentioned your interest in freight in particular, so I will stick with that.
I am talking now about normal times, at the moment obviously visiting stations to train spot is not allowed plus freight and passenger trains are much reduced, so this is for when things hopefully get back to more normal times.

You have already discovered Carlisle station and while not what it once was is still the best place along with Preston to see the most freight within your range. The Cumbrian coast line via Workington see only limited freight, and the same is true of the Carlisle to Newcastle line, and I am talking 1 or 2 a day if you are lucky.
The Settle & Carlisle improves for freight the further south you go as in addition to the small amount of through freight you pick up the Gypsum trains at Appleby and the the Arcow quarry trains from Blea Moor. As has already been mentioned Hellifield is therefore one of the best locations, plus you can get the occasional empty stock movements from West Coast Railways based at Carnforth, plus the station in normal times has a cafe.

On the West Coast mainline going north at Lockerbie you will miss out on some freight that doesn’t go north of Carlisle but pick up some that starts at Carlisle New Yard to Scotland. Going south on the WCML again you will miss out on some freight but will pick up the daily trip from Shap quarry as it heads south but it is really Preston before you will pick up any more.

Of course it is not all about quantity of freight trains. The S&C offers some stunning view points or stations like Penrith with its occasionally used sidings is a great place to watch trains at speed, as indeed you can at Oxenholme.

i would personally recommend you considering subscribing to Freightmaster. You get up to date tables of scheduled freight trains at numerous locations within your range as well as the whole of the UK. At the moment you can ‘dip your toe in the water’ for just £29 giving you access until the end of September.
 
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Bevan Price

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22 Apr 2010
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4,775
And in "normal times" - if/when they return, if you want photographs at a wide range of stations, you can get a rover ticket, e.g. the North West Rover, with 7 day, or 4 days out of 8, which extends from Liverpool / Chester / Manchester to Leeds, Carlisle, Dumfries, Lockerbie, Hexham, plus the scenic Cumbrian Coast Line, Blackpool. and almost everywhere else in that area.
 

Andy Pacer

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11 Jul 2017
Messages
616
I can vouch that the North West 4 in 8 ticket offers excellent value for a wide area, whether riding trains is the priority or indeed getting from place to place for different spotting locations.
 

Iskra

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11 Jun 2014
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3,038
Location
Chapeltown, Sheffield
I have a soft spot for standing by Hest Bank level crossing, south of Carnforth.
Same! Although I doubt it is the same now the box has gone. I think Carnforth station is a pretty good place to be as you would then get all the WCML stuff, all the Furness Line stuff (including the DRS stuff), you get any WCRC moves and the Leeds-Morecambe trains too plus maybe stuff stopping in the loops just South of the station. There's a couple of decent pubs and supermarkets nearby too.
 

Franny P

New Member
Joined
15 Feb 2020
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2
Location
Burneside nr kendal
Firstly, a big thankyou to all of you that have taken the time to give such helpful replies.

Oxenholme is the first place me and my friend went in the mid 80s to collect train numbers, a hobby we got into as 8 year olds, as we didn't have to ask our Mum's for money :)

Burneside is where I live now and the Windermere branch line runs past the bottom of my back garden.

My great uncle was a signalman at Hellifield in days gone by.

My children and I often park at Grange and get the train over to Arnside.

I'm looking forward to getting back up to Carlisle and maybe buying a rover ticket and having a good look round once the world gets a bit more "normal".

Thanks again for all your replies... and do keep them coming, they're great.
 
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Jamesrob637

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Joined
12 Aug 2016
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1,455
Firstly, a big thankyou to all of you that have taken the time to give such helpful replies.

Oxenholme is the first place me and my friend went in the mid 80s to collect train numbers, a hobby we got into as 8 year olds, as we didn't have to ask our Mum's for money :)

Burneside is where I live now and the Windermere branch line runs past the bottom of my back garden.

My great uncle was a signalman at Hellifield in days gone by.

My children and I often park at Grange and get the train over to Arnside.

I'm looking forward to getting back up to Carlisle and maybe buying a rover ticket and having a good look round once the world gets a bit more "normal".

Thanks again for all your replies... and do keep them coming, they're great.
Down Acton Bridge or even Crewe if you can as you get southbound stuff from the Merseyside area there too. Crewe "just about" constitutes the North West!
 

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