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Keswick to Penrith Railway Re-opening

Why did it close ?

Contrary to popular belief this was not a true "Beeching" closure.

The Railway between Workington and Penrith was in fact slated for closure so that the trackbed could be used to create a fast road between the coast and the A6/M6 corridor.

This was at the request of British Leyland who had been persuaded to set up a factory in Workington to solve a chronic unemployment problem.

They found the Cumbrian Coast too remote and demanded a better transport link.

The Railway was sacrificed so that stretches of the trackbed could be used for a new fast road - the A66.

After protests from Keswick, the Government compromised and closed the route from Workington to Keswick in 1966.

The route from Keswick to Penrith was simplified (but the timetable was not modernised).
In 1972 the line from Keswick to Penrith was closed, despite more protests.

Some opinions have been expressed that if the line had managed to "hang on" a few more years, it would still be with us.

Now it seems that West Cumbria could benefit from a reinstated east-west rail link, but the "quick fix" of the late 1960s to build an "easy" road has made that more difficult. Several organisations that have reduced their operations in West Cumbria, or left completely, recently, have cited "poor transport links" as a major reason.

Keswick to Penrith stayed open long enough NOT to be used for the A66 - and this is what we are working to re-open. Who knows what may follow .... !


Links to sites describing the history of the Railway:



Cumbria Railways - Peter Burgess



We will add more historical content and links to this page in due course.
Thank you for your patience !

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