Countrystride #74: RAILWAYS OF CUMBRIA

...in which we walk the popular Railway Trail between Threlkeld and Keswick to explore the history of rail in the historic counties of Cumberland and Westmorland. In the company of Peter Rooke, curator of the West Cumberland Railway Museum, we embark on our journey in the pioneering age of steam, when Carlisle offered a west coast port for the metalworks of Newcastle. As lines spread – around the west coast, and, reluctantly over Shap – we learn about the Lowther decree that split Whitehaven in two and the overseas fate of Europe's then-longest viaduct across the Solway. Entering the tourist age, we consider why golf-loving Scots were the making of Silloth and why La'al Ratty once had ambitions on Ambleside, before arriving in rail's sunset years, when consolidations and Beeching laid waste to many still-lamented rural lines.




Steam engine on the Settle to Carlisle line, as seen from the Soulby road bridge, just north of Kirkby Stephen - with thanks to Stephan Brzozowski.


Mark with our guest for the day, Peter Rooke.


Dave and Peter at the Plater's Shelter alongside the Railway Trail.

Old image of Cockermouth Station - with thanks to Peter,

Cockermouth Station staff from its heyday. Again, with thanks to Peter for the image.

The River Greta from the Trail.

Approaching Keswick - with distant Causey Pike.

The 'Cubby Hole'.