Monday, 3 January 2022

Avanti West Coast Celebrates 175 Years of Lancaster and Carlisle Railway

Avanti West Coast has teamed up with local communities based around its Cumbrian stations to celebrate the opening of the Lancaster and Carlisle railway in 1846.

Working in partnership with Cumbrian Railways Association (CRA), Community Rail Cumbria, and industry partners, Avanti West Coast hosted events at Carlisle and Penrith stations to mark the 175th anniversary of the railway line between Lancaster and Carlisle.

The week-long celebrations, which were part-funded through Avanti West Coast’s Station Community Project Fund, involved photographic displays documenting the line, the appearance of locomotives from rail freight company, Direct Rail Services and the unveiling of commemorative plaques by retired railway workers.

At Penrith, local schoolchildren created birthday cards and representatives from the community shared stories of their connections to the railway line.

The Lancaster and Carlisle railway – now known as the West Coast Main Line, which connects London and Glasgow - first opened in December 1846 when the inaugural train from Lancaster arrived in Carlisle.

Timetabled passenger services started two days later – making it possible for people in Lancaster and Cumbria to travel to and from the south by rail.

The 69-mile railway line, which goes across Shap summit (the highest point on the West Coast Main Line), and the associated stations and viaducts took 30 months to construct.

Mark Green, Avanti West Coast Station Manager at Penrith, said: “We’re proud to be playing our part to celebrate 175 years of the Lancaster and Carlisle railway. As gateways to the North Lakes and City of the Lakes, Penrith and Carlisle stations are key destinations on our route, where our iconic Pendolino trains provide a clean, green journey option.

“Working with industry partners, past rail workers and the community has highlighted how the railway makes a lasting impression on everyone, and the important role train travel has played and continues to play today in connecting people and places.”

Cumbrian Railways Association Chairman, Philip Tuer, said: “The CRA and other partners believe that this milestone of railway construction should be properly recognised and celebrated as a key event for Cumbria, Penrith, Carlisle and the railway network as a whole.”