Barrow-in-Furness railway station

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Barrow-in-Furness National Rail
Barrow-in-Furness Station, Cumbria.jpg
The station viewed from Abbey Road
Place Barrow-in-Furness
Local authority Barrow-in-Furness
Coordinates 54°07′08″N 3°13′34″W / 54.119°N 3.226°W / 54.119; -3.226Coordinates: 54°07′08″N 3°13′34″W / 54.119°N 3.226°W / 54.119; -3.226
Grid reference SD199699
Station code BIF
Managed by Northern
Number of platforms 3
DfT category D
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2011/12 Decrease 0.562 million
– Interchange  Increase 17,119
2012/13 Increase 0.604 million
– Interchange  Increase 18,041
2013/14 Increase 0.631 million
– Interchange  Decrease 16,778
2014/15 Increase 0.650 million
– Interchange  Decrease 14,521
2015/16 Decrease 0.631 million
– Interchange  Increase 16,548
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Barrow-in-Furness from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal

Barrow-in-Furness railway station is the largest railway station serving Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, England. It is the western terminus of the Furness Line to Lancaster and the southern terminus of the Cumbrian Coast Line to Carlisle, both of which connect to the West Coast Mainline. It is operated by Northern.


Barrow Central from the south about 1910

The present station was formerly known as Barrow Central and at one time it was a terminus for British Rail long-distance or InterCity services. From October 1947 until May 1983 these included sleeper services to and from London Euston. A sleeper service in the London direction only was briefly reintroduced between May 1987 and May 1990.

The original Barrow station of 1846 had been a wooden building at Rabbit Hill, near the site of the present St. George's Square. It was eventually replaced in 1863 by a new brick building close by, which had been designed by the Lancaster architect Edward Paley, and which latterly came to be known as Cambridge Hall. On 1 June 1882, the town's principal station was transferred to its present site below Abbey Road, following the construction of a new loop line. It had to be almost entirely rebuilt in the late 1950s,[1] after World War II, having largely been destroyed by enemy bombing on 7 May 1941. From 1907–1941, the Furness Railway steam locomotive "Coppernob" was preserved in a special glass case outside the station. It was subsequently transferred away for additional security and is now in the National Railway Museum at York.

In the Railway Series books by the Rev. W Awdry, Barrow Central is the mainland terminus for the Fat Controller's or North Western Railway and is connected to the fictional Island of Sodor by a bridge to Vickerstown or as it is known in the books Vicarstown.


The World War I memorial found inside the station also shows damage from World War II bombing

To the north, services are provided Monday-Saturday by Northern, with services approximately hourly during the day to Whitehaven and Carlisle. One train per day operates to Sellafield specifically for transportation of workers at Sellafield nuclear plant (BNFL). Evening trains run only as far Millom and there is no Sunday service over this section. There are 14 services northbound per weekday with eleven going to Carlisle, two going to Millom and one to Sellafield. Barrow also receives 15 services from the Northern part of the line, with ten trains from Carlisle, three trains from Millom, one train from Maryport and one train from Sellafield. Four of these each way are operated using coaching stock hauled by locomotives hired from Direct Rail Services. Some of these services continue along the Furness Line to Lancaster and Preston.[2]

To the south, there are stopping services to Lancaster (some go as far as Preston) and a few semi-fast services to Manchester Airport. There is also a daily service on weekdays from Buxton and Hazel Grove. Services frequencies on this section are somewhat uneven due to the differing stopping patterns of the two service groups, with intervals of between 30 and 90 minutes between trains during the daytime and every two hours during the evenings and on Sundays. One train per day (Monday to Friday) in the evening operates southbound to Blackpool North starting from Barrow in Furness, with no northbound return.[3]

Future service improvements are to be introduced by Northern from December 2017, including evening & Sunday services over the line to Whitehaven & Carlisle and more trains to/from Preston & Manchester Airport.[4]


Platform 1, which contains the entrance to the station, is used primarily for Northern Rail through trains (from Lancaster/Preston to Carlisle) heading north, or services heading to/arriving from Preston & Manchester Airport. The platform contains a waiting area, the ticket office and information office and toilets, along with the cafe (run by Cafexpress), all of which have been recently renovated. In early 2012, the platform was also presented by pieces of artwork of the local area by the Mayor of Barrow and the Barrow and Furness MP.

Platform 2 is mainly used for Northern services heading south to Lancaster or Preston, or local trains arriving from Millom/Sellafield.

Platform 3 is a bay platform that can only be used for north-bound trains to Millom and Carlisle. It is used several times each day except on Sundays.

In between Platforms 2 and 3 is an indoor waiting area, with live departures, a vending machine and speakers. Further up and down the platform are written timetables, then the rest of the buildings contain offices for staff and British Transport Police.

There is a Northern train crew depot at the station and there are a number of sidings to the north used for servicing & stabling empty DMUs and the aforementioned loco-hauled coaching sets operated by D.R.S.


Car parking in Barrow is often criticised locally, with rates which can be as much as the train fare itself for short-distance journeys and are significantly more expensive than Borough Council car parks (which are free after 6pm) when used later in the day. Local residents often use the nearby (unused) former-Kwik Save car park opposite the station or park on local streets.

Recent renovations[edit]

The station has recently been renovated, with replacement of most of the old seating and waiting areas, and replacement of the ageing automatic doors within the station. Electronic information signs have been installed, along with improved CCTV after several incidents on the station. Ramps have been provided for access, and this is continuing with provision of better access to Platforms 2 and 3, which previously would have been accessible only via the very end of the platform. The station restaurant is also being upgraded.



  1. ^ Railway Magazine March 1959 pp. 149-157 Dr M J Andrews: The Railways of Barrow
  2. ^ GB eNRT 2016-17 Edition, Table 100 (Network Rail)
  3. ^ GB eNRT 2016-17 Edition, Table 82 (Network Rail)
  4. ^ Northern Franchise Improvements - DfT Retrieved 25 April 2016

External links[edit]

Preceding station   National Rail National Rail   Following station
Terminus Northern
Barrow-in-Furness - Manchester Airport
Terminus Northern
Furness Line
Cumbrian Coast Line
Historical railways
Island Road
Line and station closed
  Furness Railway   Roose
Line and station open