Carnforth railway station

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Carnforth National Rail
Carnforth railway station.JPG
Place Carnforth
Local authority Lancaster
Coordinates 53°07′48″N 2°46′16″W / 53.130°N 2.771°W / 53.130; -2.771Coordinates: 53°07′48″N 2°46′16″W / 53.130°N 2.771°W / 53.130; -2.771
Grid reference SD496706
Station code CNF
Managed by First TransPennine Express
Number of platforms 2
DfT category F1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05  149,649
2005/06 Increase 157,240
2006/07 Decrease 150,824
2007/08 Increase 174,644
2008/09 Increase 176,918
2009/10 Increase 179,602
2010/11 Increase 196,972
2011/12 Decrease 191,306
- Interchange 9,920
2012/13 Increase 196,470
- Interchange Decrease 9,048
Original company Lancaster and Carlisle Railway and Ulverstone and Lancaster Railway
Pre-grouping LNWR, Furness Railway and Midland Railway joint
Post-grouping London Midland and Scottish Railway
22 September 1846 L&CR station opened as Carnforth-Yealand[1]
February 1864 L&CR station renamed Carnforth[1]
6 June 1867 U&LR station opened as Carnforth[1]
2 August 1880 The two stations were replaced by a single station[1]
May 1970 West Coast Main Line platforms closed
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Carnforth from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal
Carnforth railway station
The station clock
Barrow train arrives in 1971
Carnforth station, shortly before main line electrification.

Carnforth railway station serves the town of Carnforth in Lancashire, England. The building was designed by architect William Tite and was used as a location in the 1945 film Brief Encounter. It is now operated by TransPennine Express.


Carnforth railway station was opened in 1846 by the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway (L&CR). It originally had a single platform and was a second-class station. It became a junction in 1857 when the Ulverston and Lancaster Railway arrived from the northwest, the station being adopted as its southern terminus. The Furness Railway took over the U&LR in 1862 and became the second major company operating to Carnforth.

The station was enlarged during the 1870s and in 1880 was able to receive trains from the Midland Railway following the commissioning of a new south-to-east direct curve to the Furness and Midland Joint Railway (creating a triangular junction in the process). Meanwhile, the L&CR had been taken over by the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) and Carnforth was operated under joint management by Furness, Midland and LNWR. Station personnel wore a uniform with the initials CJS for Carnforth: Joint Station.

A major rebuilding project, including a new 300 yard platform (currently used by all northbound services), took place in 1938 with government funding - this brought the total number of platforms in use at the station to six. In 1944, the Government approved the rebuilding of Carnforth MPD into a major regional railway depot.

Brief Encounter was partly filmed there in February 1945. The station clock became a powerful icon through repeated use in the film.

The West Coast Main Line platforms were closed in May 1970, following the withdrawal of local stopping passenger services between Lancaster and Carlisle two years earlier. The platform walls facing the fast lines were demolished, cut back and fenced off a few years later prior to the commissioning of 25 kV overhead electrification in 1974. This made Carnforth a branch line station, even though it is situated on the main line, as WCML trains cannot now call. In 2011, Network Rail rejected suggestions to reopen the mainline platforms, stating that there would be too few passengers to justify slowing down mainline trains.[2] Only the former platforms 4 & 5 (now renumbered 1 & 2) remain in use, as the old 'Midland bay' that once handled trains on the Joint line to Skipton & Leeds is also disused and no longer rail-connected.

Responsibility for the signalling at the station is divided between Preston PSB (main line) and the one surviving manual ex-Furness Railway signal box at Carnforth Station Junction, sited just past the physical junction between the Barrow & Leeds lines. This has acted as the 'fringe' box to the PSB since the main line was resignalled in 1972/3. Two other boxes (F&M Junction & East Junction) were closed & demolished when the northern side of the triangle (avoiding the station) was decommissioned in 1998.

After lying in a semi-derelict state for many years, the station buildings were refurbished between 2000 & 2003 and returned to commercial use.

There is an award winning Heritage Centre and the "Brief Encounter" Refreshment Room, a number of shops and a travel/ticket office. The outer half of the now non-operational up main (southbound) platform is still in use as the access route to the subway and hence the active platforms & tea room.


Carnforth is served by two train operators.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 54. ISBN 1-8526-0508-1. OCLC 60251199. 
  2. ^ Johnston, Howard (10 August 2011). "Regional News". Rail (Peterborough). p. 24. 
  3. ^ GB National Rail Timetable, Dec 2013-May 2014; Table 82
  4. ^ GB National Rail Timetable, Dec 2013 - May 2014; Table 36

External links[edit]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Lancaster   First TransPennine Express
TransPennine North West
Bare Lane   First TransPennine Express
Barrow to Windermere
Lancaster   Northern Rail
Furness Line
Lancaster   Northern Rail
Leeds to Morecambe Line
Historical railways
Bolton-le-Sands   Lancaster and Carlisle Railway   Burton and Holme
Line open, station closed
  Furness Railway
Ulverston and Lancaster Railway
Line and station open
Bolton-le-Sands   Furness and Midland Joint Railway   Borwick