North Lakes Railway

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With the huge success of the reopened Borders Railway (Surely the case for opening right through to Carlisle is stronger now?!), was having a good crack with a mate about the old Penrith-Keswick-Cockermouth railway, and potential for it ever reopening.

Had a search on here, and found a good thread (Now closed) on this very topic - http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=104074&highlight=Keswick - and it got me thinking just how good it would be to see the campaign - http://www.keswickrailway.com - properly supported by the right bodies.

I'd go so far as to push for a Workington to Appleby line (Yes I know it's fantasy!) that would connect the West Cumbrian, WCML and S&C lines in one swoop!

As a frequent visitor to the Lakes, with it being on my doorstep, I'd much prefer getting the train than using my car, or the bus (Which does my head in!).

In an area which is overran by traffic, this route deserves to be reopened in my slightly biased opinion!

Any thoughts on top of the original thread?
 
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SeanG

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Part of it is built on by the A66 around Bassenthwaite Lake.

It would cost millions of pounds, something which would be better utilised elsewhere. It'll never happen in my lifetime
 

PaulLothian

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I am also a regular visitor to the Lakes - I have been on holiday there twice this year already. The problem is that the Lakes will never have a simple transport system. There are areas that are not properly connected by road with each other, let alone providing good transport links. (I once drove a minibus over the Hardknott pass, but never again!!)

Relatively few of the visitors to the Lakes only want to visit the northern fringe. The line barely approaches any settlement between Penrith and Keswick. Unless effective and quick public transport links can be developed for reasonably comfortable and speedy onward travel from the PK&C, it could never have a business case. Despite my wholehearted approval of rail travel and my general dislike of bus travel, I can't see trains having any increased role in replacing cars in the Lakes until the oil runs out.

But Alfred Wainwright (who I believe never drove) might well have approved of the idea...
 
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Helvellyn

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Best that could be hoped for is Penrith-Keswick, but it's a line that survived until the 1970s and it's a shame it never lasted beyond that.
 

Feathers44

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I was up there for a week in the summer and the A66 does stamp all over it at the far end but even looking at the traffic on the roads along the stretch to Keswick in high tourist season, I'd question whether there's really the latent demand there to make it pay.
 

PHILIPE

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To establish a Business case, it would have to be potentially viable all the year round which, as it would depend a lot on tourist trade, I don't think it would be.
 

fireftrm

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For those who think the Lake District is a summer only tourist destination, think again. Keswick is heaving every weekend all year and busy virtually every weekday too.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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With the huge success of the reopened Borders Railway (Surely the case for opening right through to Carlisle is stronger now?!), was having a good crack with a mate about the old Penrith-Keswick-Cockermouth railway, and potential for it ever reopening.

The actual name of the railway in question is the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway which was constituted under an Act of Parliament on 1st August 1861. Thomas Bouch was appointed as the line engineer in May 1862. The line provided a through route from Cockermouth to the former Lancaster and Carlisle Railway line in the Penrith area and had both north and south facing connections to that line, but two different chords were constructed to facilitate this. Whilst the London and North Western Railway operated the services, the company retained its independance until just prior to the 1923 Groupings.

Incidentally, I have opened a new thread on the Railway History and Nostalgia forum about Briery Bobbin Mill halt which lay on that line in order to find its exact location.
 
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kylemore

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The actual name of the railway in question is the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway which was constituted under an Act of Parliament on 1st August 1861. Thomas Bouch was appointed as the line engineer in May 1962. .

That's quite a delay in appointing an engineer - worthy of HS2:)
 

yorksrob

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This is one aspiration I fully support. A link through to Workington would be ideal for connectivity, however most of the formation around Bassenthwaite Lake has had a dual carriageway plonked on it unfortunately, so unlikely to make it over there.

Nevertheless, Penrith to Keswick is mostly intact, and it's the ideal sort of line to improve tourism and reduce road congestion in the national park.

The fact that it lasted so long illustrates that it was a poorly considered closure which should never have happened but for the Country's financial crisis at the time.
 

MarkRedon

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It is no coincidence that it is some of the late, in some cases post-Beeching, closures which are most regretted and regrettable. Penrith to Keswick is one such case. Others that come to mind are Lewes to Uckfield, Colne to Skipton and Eridge to Tunbridge Wells West. These are the lines that with the benefit of hindsight should never have closed – if they remained operational today, they would require less subsidy than many extant parts of the current network.

The campaign to reopen a railway to Keswick has been somewhat hijacked by a single, well-informed, enthusiastic gentleman. But a more broadly-based campaign is required and more local authorities need to be brought on board; the support of Keswick Town Council is valuable but hardly enough to get true momentum behind this. Crucial would be the Lake District National Park Authority.
 

TheNewNo2

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Even if there was overwhelming evidence that the railway would be good for the community, businesses and tourists, it would still never happen because people would go on about how it was ruining a national park...
 

yorksrob

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The campaign to reopen a railway to Keswick has been somewhat hijacked by a single, well-informed, enthusiastic gentleman. But a more broadly-based campaign is required and more local authorities need to be brought on board; the support of Keswick Town Council is valuable but hardly enough to get true momentum behind this. Crucial would be the Lake District National Park Authority.

Indeed. SELRAP is a good example of a reopening campaign with a wide range of support.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Even if there was overwhelming evidence that the railway would be good for the community, businesses and tourists, it would still never happen because people would go on about how it was ruining a national park...

I'd be tempted to point out to such people that they've already allowed a section of the route to be turned into a far more environmentally destructive dual carriage way. There's simply no such basis to object to the reinstatement of a railway which was already an established part of the landscape for over a century.
 

TheNewNo2

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I'd be tempted to point out to such people that they've already allowed a section of the route to be turned into a far more environmentally destructive dual carriage way. There's simply no such basis to object to the reinstatement of a railway which was already an established part of the landscape for over a century.

You're quite right and as HS2 proves that will not matter one bit.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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That's quite a delay in appointing an engineer - worthy of HS2:)

Mea culpa...posting now amended to read 1862....:oops:
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I'd be tempted to point out to such people that they've already allowed a section of the route to be turned into a far more environmentally destructive dual carriage way. There's simply no such basis to object to the reinstatement of a railway which was already an established part of the landscape for over a century.

One might even cast one's mind back to the centuries prior to the coming of the railway and ask what mode had preceded the railway in the way of allowing travel connections between those very same settlements.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
For those who think the Lake District is a summer only tourist destination, think again. Keswick is heaving every weekend all year and busy virtually every weekday too.

Keswick does have some good bus services, some of considerable distance length, that bring in people to the town.
 

Feathers44

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Keswick does have some good bus services, some of considerable distance length, that bring in people to the town.

...and some pretty awful parking (i.e. too many cars) in the peak of the season as I discovered in the summer.

I can fully buy into the possible benefits from the town's viewpoint but as I alluded to earlier, I think the dual carriageway more than caters for the traffic that seems to want to use it which implies that the traffic comes from the south in which case the railway won't be of great benefit.
 

yorksrob

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One might even cast one's mind back to the centuries prior to the coming of the railway and ask what mode had preceded the railway in the way of allowing travel connections between those very same settlements.
.

They'd probably object to the sound of hooves on cobbles and a bit of dung.
 

Dunc108

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Mea culpa...posting now amended to read 1862....:oops:
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


One might even cast one's mind back to the centuries prior to the coming of the railway and ask what mode had preceded the railway in the way of allowing travel connections between those very same settlements.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


Keswick does have some good bus services, some of considerable distance length, that bring in people to the town.

Oh yes the popular no 555 service from Lancaster to Keswick comes to mind - this also connects with rail services outside Windermere station too, can be a bit of a grind between Kendal and Lancaster though as it takes all the back roads etc, although they do run an additional faster service in School Holidays which goes Lancaster - Kendal direct via M6 then via Central Lakes.
 
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306024

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Oh yes the popular no 555 service from Lancaster to Keswick comes to mind - this also connects with rail services outside Windermere station too........

Popular isn't the word. Runs every 30 minutes in the summer but had been reduced to hourly when I used it last month. Long queue in Keswick for the bus heading south, good job they are double deckers. Naturally the popularity is boosted by the senior free bus pass but it was good to see public transport being well used.

Comprehensive bus timetables for the whole of the Lake District are available from tourist offices and on the bus. A day ranger ticket gives good value too. As for rebuilding a railway anywhere, bus will always be more flexible in this part of the world.
 

kylemore

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Although Mosedale viaduct seems to have stood the test of time !

A late career combination of arrogance, inattention and poorly judged delegation appears to have allowed corrupt contractors to have supplied shockingly poor materials and work - I wonder if the work and materials had been of the highest quality - as presumably at Mosedale - would the original single track Tay Bridge still be there?

However I fear we may be slightly off topic....
 

yorksrob

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A late career combination of arrogance, inattention and poorly judged delegation appears to have allowed corrupt contractors to have supplied shockingly poor materials and work - I wonder if the work and materials had been of the highest quality - as presumably at Mosedale - would the original single track Tay Bridge still be there?

However I fear we may be slightly off topic....

Or it might be that Mosedale is of a more tried and tested masonry arch design and therefore less vulnerable.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Going further off topic, I wonder how Belah viaduct would be faring now, had it not been scrapped in the 50's!
 

paul1609

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Popular isn't the word. Runs every 30 minutes in the summer but had been reduced to hourly when I used it last month. Long queue in Keswick for the bus heading south, good job they are double deckers. Naturally the popularity is boosted by the senior free bus pass but it was good to see public transport being well used.

Comprehensive bus timetables for the whole of the Lake District are available from tourist offices and on the bus. A day ranger ticket gives good value too. As for rebuilding a railway anywhere, bus will always be more flexible in this part of the world.

Agree with the popularity of the 555, by comparison the Keswick to Penrith bus (X5?) which parallels the rail route seems fairly sparsely used in my (admittedly limited) experience. Using it as a connection off the West Coast mainline Iast time I think 3 people joined the bus.
 

Howardh

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In my little dream world, the disused line to Coniston seems mostly intact, save for a new station would have to be a touch outside Coniston!
C'mon steam railway enthusiasts - a line waiting to happen!!
 

kylemore

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Or it might be that Mosedale is of a more tried and tested masonry arch design and therefore less vulnerable.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Going further off topic, I wonder how Belah viaduct would be faring now, had it not been scrapped in the 50's!

I wasn't aware it was masonry so a bit harder to mess up right enough - from the various books on the Tay Bridge disaster I've read Bouch comes over as something of a wide boy in a frock coat and top hat anyway - worthy of being a character in Anthony Trollope's "The Way We Live Now" - an excellent expose of corruption at the heart of Victorian industrial enterprise.
 

jonty14

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In my little dream world, the disused line to Coniston seems mostly intact, save for a new station would have to be a touch outside Coniston!
C'mon steam railway enthusiasts - a line waiting to happen!!

Couldn't agree with you more. My dad used to work at Broughton station.
 

Dunc108

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Popular isn't the word. Runs every 30 minutes in the summer but had been reduced to hourly when I used it last month. Long queue in Keswick for the bus heading south, good job they are double deckers. Naturally the popularity is boosted by the senior free bus pass but it was good to see public transport being well used.

Comprehensive bus timetables for the whole of the Lake District are available from tourist offices and on the bus. A day ranger ticket gives good value too. As for rebuilding a railway anywhere, bus will always be more flexible in this part of the world.

It's particularly well patronised between Kendal - Keswick, Kendal Bus Station being better placed for the town centre than Kendal Station itself. I would imagine many Keswick-bound rail passengers also use it beyond Windermere station making it even more essential. I'm not sure what the bus service is like between Penrith - Keswick.
 

QueensCurve

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Part of it is built on by the A66 around Bassenthwaite Lake.

It would cost millions of pounds, something which would be better utilised elsewhere. It'll never happen in my lifetime

The A66 (single carriageway or Eastbound) roughly follows the route of the former railway from Braithwaite to Embleton and again from West of Cockermouth to Broughton Cross.

The section between Keswick and Penrith is Severed by the A66 near Penruddock and planning permission was recently given for an industrial development on the formation at Flusco.

The campaign for reopening from Penrith to Keswick seems to have lost steam in recent years.
 

6Gman

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With the huge success of the reopened Borders Railway (Surely the case for opening right through to Carlisle is stronger now?!), was having a good crack with a mate about the old Penrith-Keswick-Cockermouth railway, and potential for it ever reopening.

The Borders Railway is a "huge success" because people want to commute into Edinburgh for work, and travel there for shopping, entertainment, culture etc etc

With all due respect Penrith is not Edinburgh!

:)
 
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