Cumbrian Coast Line

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RichmondCommu

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G'day,

With a 10 day break booked for the Yorkshire Dales and Lakes this summer I'm looking for a wet weather alternative to a predominately walking holiday. Having never travelled on the Cumbrian Coast Line what’s it like scenically? Was thinking of perhaps driving to Carnforth from where we are staying and catching the train to Whitehaven?

As an alternative to Whitehaven, what’s the Ravenglass and Eskdale like for scenery and railway interest? That said, as we're staying in close proximity to the S&C as our main base I don't want my wife to think that I'm taking the p*ss!

Any suggestions would be very welcome. Fortunately we then have two weeks in southern France to dry ourselves out!

Many thanks,

Richmond Commuter!
 
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IanD

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Haven't been for over 30 years but the last time I went I was v impressed by the scenery. It's great in the sunshine but more spectacular if a storms brewing and the sea is rough.

I'm travelling the whole length next weekend (plus the S&C), I'll let you know if either of them have lost their appeal over the years :D
 

MidnightFlyer

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A pretty little line, especially in the Arnside, Askam and Braystones area when it is right on the Coast. It's certainly a journey worth doing if you're in the area, if you aren't hugging the coastline then you tend to be in pleasant country fields.
 

sprinterguy

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The Ravenglass and Eskdale is also a fantastic, beautiful little line in my opinion. There are only a few that beat it, and very few in the narrow gauge field, as far as I am concerned.
 

johnnychips

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Believe it or not, Sellafield Nuclear Plant Visitors' centre was well worth a visit. Not sure if they still do coach tours round the site though. It used to be free.

EDIT: Apparently it's crap now and used more as a conference centre, sorry. Don't know if it's Al-Qaida related, but it isn't even on Trip Advisor.
 
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RichmondCommu

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Haven't been for over 30 years but the last time I went I was v impressed by the scenery. It's great in the sunshine but more spectacular if a storms brewing and the sea is rough.

I'm travelling the whole length next weekend (plus the S&C), I'll let you know if either of them have lost their appeal over the years :D
Well trust me the S&C will never disappoint! Just as a point of interest where are you starting your journey from if you don't mind me asking? We will be travelling from Dentdale but I'm not sure its possible to travel Hellifield-Carnforth, Carnforth-Carlisle and Carlisle-Hellifield in the same day. And as I say I have to think of my family too!
 

IanD

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It's a long day:

Milton Keynes 0641
Lancaster 0852 -0903
Carlisle 1239 -1426
Settle 1603 (- 1604
Hellifield 1611 - 1739
Giggleswick 1749 -) 1749
Lancaster 1838 - 1943
Milton Keynes 2150

Will be jumping off at Settle and walking to Giggleswick (just a couple of miles apart) so missing out the dog leg to Hellifield and back.

It is possible to do a round trip on both lines in one day - you could start at Giggleswick at 0924 and be in Settle for 1757 but would miss out Hellifield. I'm sure you could do the loop the other way round too starting at Ribblehead and include Hellifield.
 

philjo

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One of the Day ranger tickets would probably be of use to you.

http://www.northernrail.org/pdfs/special_offers/dayrangers/2012/Cumbria_the_Lake_District_and_North_West-day-ranger.pdf

I used the Lakes day Ranger last time I was up there. it is valid on the coast Lancaster to Workington and up to Penrith on the WCML plus Windermenre & morecambe branches. also on the Stagecoach buses. I was staying in Ambleside so got the bus to Keswick & the x4/x5 to Workington (bus station there is a bit grotty!). walk to workington station.
I got the train round the coast to Lancaster & train back to Windermere.

On another very wet day I also managed to do this the other way including a Ravenglass & eskdale trip but cut off the corner using the Ambleside- Barrow bus on the outward trip (& return workington/keswick).


Alternatively the Round robin ticket is valid for the whole circuit via Lancaster , Barrow, Carlisle & Penrith but excludes the Windermere branch.
 

stut

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The Ravenglass & Eskdale is a lovely little journey - but don't miss the section of track on the coast line past Morecambe Bay, through Ulverston and Grange - very underrated little towns.
 

cuccir

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Grange looks nice from the train, but there's nothing much of interest in Ulverston since Hartley's closed
It's probably worth continuing around the Furness peninsula for the fuller experience of the line, although Ulverston is a nice destination for the afternoon.

Ravenglass and Eskdale will be your most unique day and would take you into the heart of the Lakes. Probably the best option IMHO, but it depends how much rail travel your wife is willing to do!

Other destinations:
* Whitehaven - nice harbour and interesting museum, but otherwise a fairly unremarkable town
* St Bees - good coastal and cliff walking, a few sea-front cafes etc.
* Silecroft - alight for a walk up Black Combe. A fairly low fell but still a proper one, and its location means fantastic views (on a clear day!): the Lakes to the East, Scotland to the North, Isle of Man to the West, Blackpool Tower and Wales to South.

There are a few other options, closer to Carnforth but it would seem to be missing the point to not at least carry on further up the west coast.
 

ashworth

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Cumbrian Coast line is not terribly interesting north of Ravenglass. Ratty is good and Ratty Arms at Ravenglass station does good food & drink
I know it's all a matter of personal opinion but I really don't agree with that statement. Although I love Arneside to Ulverston and Askam to Millom, I also equally love some of the sections north of Ravenglass which hug the coastline. I especially like the bits between Seascale and St. Bees and Whitehaven and Workington. Some parts may a bit bleak and desolate but that is part of what makes it so interesting.

I agree that Whitehaven is an interesting harbour to walk around but I like Maryport better. Smaller and far less commercialised.

Every summer, for about the past 10 years, I've stayed with friends near Blackpool and made use of the fantastic valued 7 Day NW Rover. At least one trip around the Cumbrian coast during that week is a must for me, sometimes I do it twice, stopping off at interesting places on the way. I also each year make sure that I make use of the Dales Rail Service from Carlisle to Preston via Settle on Sundays and I also use the Lancaster to Leeds service.
 

Essexman

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Lancaster to Barrow is a nice ride, that I've done a few times in the last few years. I haven't been north of Barrow since 1966, but am doing it next week and staying overnight at Seascale. Return from Barrow to Crewe in 1966 was the last time I went on a steam locomotive on BR.
 
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themiller

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The Ratty is very worthwhile and, leaving Ravenglass it passes the old watermill just after the A595 bridge. Look out for the old stone crushing plant on the right at Murthwaite where the line used to have dual narrow and standard gauge tracks - it's used as abit of an engineers dump now. Further up the line on the left after The Green in the trees is the old quarry which used to have quite a fan of narrow gauge wagon rails. At Dalegarth, you can turn left out of the station and walk up to Boot village with Brook House being good for food. On the opposite side of the road up the valley from here is a track to the river which is a very pleasant walk and you can do a circular walk to Doctor Bridge and back. If you turn right out of the station there is a walk to Dalegarth waterfall but you may need a map which can be bought from either of the Ratty shops at Ravenglass or Dalegarth.
Yes Sellafield Visitor Centre is probably not worth a visit as it's a long walk from Sellafield station along roads with no footpath. The sightseer buses around site stopped some years ago when security was upgraded and the buses sold off at the end of their economic lives. The main site sidings are just south of Sellafield station where you will be able to see some stock but it's a lottery just what will be there - usually some internal wagons and possibly a site shunter. If you leave the train at Sellafield, there is a public path which follows the site security fence to the Calder river. If you need more, let me know.
 

krisk

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Ravenglass Railway is lovely

I like the coast line but dont like the rolling stock, end to end on a 153/156 is pretty hardcore.
 

sprinterguy

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Ravenglass Railway is lovely

I like the coast line but dont like the rolling stock, end to end on a 153/156 is pretty hardcore.
I'm not particularly keen on 153s, but IMO the Cumbrian Coast is the sort of route that 156s were made for. They're perfect for that sort of scenic regional route, although it's a bit luck of the draw as to whether you end up on a former North West or a North East unit. The North West units are less bearable as far as I'm concerned.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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* Silecroft - alight for a walk up Black Combe. A fairly low fell but still a proper one, and its location means fantastic views (on a clear day!): the Lakes to the East, Scotland to the North, Isle of Man to the West, Blackpool Tower and Wales to South.
Indeed this is a good walk, but more advisable to make when good weather prevails and when a clear sky is present.
 

sprinterguy

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I think the odd pacer turns up from time to time on that line, imagine end to end on a 142
There's no 142s booked along the Cumbrian Coast route any more as far as I know. There used to be a gruelling Lancaster to Carlisle turn on the Cumbrian Coast on a Saturday for a Pacer that often utilised no less than a Merseytravel 142 <D You'd have to be quite dedicated to do the full end to end run on one of those!
 

D841 Roebuck

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I had a trip that way a couple of years ago. From Castleton, I bought a day return to Lancaster and the Conductor/Guard on the 185 between Preston and Lancaster sold me a Lakes Day Ranger.

I did the train to Windermere and then the bus to Keswick. Had an hour here then got bus to Workington. Lunched at 'Spoons, then a swift ride to Maryport and back to scratch 57007/008 on the Floodex. Finally, a pleasant ride round the coast back to Lancaster and home.

The coastal scenery was excellent, as were the mountains from the bus. It was a beautiful day weatherwise, and Crinkle Crags and Bowfell looked to be glowing in the sunshine.

(Perhaps this should have gone in the trip reports section instead...)
 

aylesbury

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The section from Carnforth to Barrow is very scenic ,as is the rest of the jorney to St Bees.The houses on the beach near St Bees look very like being washed away by a high tide!Onwards to Carslile is a mixture of industry and pleaseant countryside,you could have a couple of hours watching the WCML at Carslile.You also could have a look at the Lakeside and Haverthwaite line its a good place to go to,enjoy your trip.
 

Tomnick

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Do Carlisle sign the Cumbrian Coast? They never used to (different TOC!), but I don't know if things have changed since.
 

RichmondCommu

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Some fantastic responses on here so thanks very much and I will try my best to fit in a trip along the line. As I said at the start the Cumbrian Coast is basically a wet weather alternative and it will come down to either a trip along the Ratty or further up the coast to Whitehaven.

However, spending two hours watching trains at Carlisle would almost certainly end with my wife threatening me with divorce! I agree however that the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway is a lovely day trip. The last time I visited two BR Standard Tanks pretty much ran the operation.

Thanks again,

Richmond Commuter.
 

Jeff Worsnop

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G'day,

With a 10 day break booked for the Yorkshire Dales and Lakes this summer I'm looking for a wet weather alternative to a predominately walking holiday. Having never travelled on the Cumbrian Coast Line what’s it like scenically? Was thinking of perhaps driving to Carnforth from where we are staying and catching the train to Whitehaven?

As an alternative to Whitehaven, what’s the Ravenglass and Eskdale like for scenery and railway interest? That said, as we're staying in close proximity to the S&C as our main base I don't want my wife to think that I'm taking the p*ss!

Any suggestions would be very welcome. Fortunately we then have two weeks in southern France to dry ourselves out!

Many thanks,

Richmond Commuter!
Mostly good scenic route. And a reminder of West Cumbrian industrial decline around Whitehaven/Workington. North of Workington mostly nice fields.
I did Lancaster to Carlise on a 4 wheeler railbus when the direct route was blocked. Serious bum ache ensued.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I think the odd pacer turns up from time to time on that line, imagine end to end on a 142
I did. It was a bum ache.
OK for drivers who changed at Barrow.
 

IanD

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Did this at the weekend. My planned itinerary changed due to the 0641 from Milton Keynes being delayed again due to overrunning engineering works. Can't remember that last time this train was right time!

Milton Keynes 0649(L)
Lancaster 0920(L) -1005(L)
Barrow 1109(L) - 1122
Whitehaven 1245(L) - 1254
Carlisle 1359(E) -1426
Settle 1603
Giggleswick 1749
Lancaster 1833(E) - 1950(L)
Milton Keynes 2155(L)

Might have been able to get to MKC an hour earlier if we could have found the train manager of the 1841 to Euston which was running 5 minutes late.

Anyway, I can confirm that the scenery is still stunning on both lines.

Plenty to see on the coast line north of Ravenglass, not sure why people think otherwise. My journey was certainly enlived by ending up surrounded by a hen party heading from Workington to the bright lights of Carlisle (poor Carlisle is all I can say!).
 
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