Port Carlisle railway station

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Port Carlisle
Port Carlisle railway station remnants.JPG
Remnants of the old station platform
PlacePort Carlisle
Coordinates54°56′56″N 3°11′15″W / 54.9488°N 3.1874°W / 54.9488; -3.1874Coordinates: 54°56′56″N 3°11′15″W / 54.9488°N 3.1874°W / 54.9488; -3.1874
Grid referenceNY240622
Original companyPort Carlisle Railway
Pre-groupingNorth British Railway
Post-groupingLondon and North Eastern Railway
22 June 1854Opened
1 January 1917Closed
1 February 1919Reopened
1 June 1932Closed[5]
Disused railway stations in the United Kingdom
Closed railway stations in Britain
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal

Port Carlisle railway station was a railway station in Port Carlisle, Cumbria; the terminus on the Port Carlisle Railway, serving the village and old port and the steamer service to Liverpool that ran from here until 1856, when it was transferred to Silloth.[6] Port Carlisle was two and a half miles away by train from Drumburgh and Glasson was one and a quarter miles away. The journey time to Drumburgh was nine minutes, although Glasson was a request stop.[7]


A port was built in 1819 at the hamlet of Fisher's Cross, later renamed Port Carlisle and four years later, in 1821, the eleven and a half mile long Carlisle Navigation Canal was built to take goods to Carlisle.[8] The canal was closed in 1853[8] and the canal basin at Carlisle and parts of the canal were filled in by the Port Carlisle Railway Company who constructed a railway that started passenger services commenced in 1854, discontinuing them two years later when the Carlisle & Silloth Bay Railway & Dock Company's (C&SBRDC) new railway to Silloth opened, utilising the Port Carlisle Branch as far as Drumburgh.[9] A brief resurgence of business at Port Carisle had taken place upon the opening of the railway, taken away however by the new port at Silloth and the transfer of the steamer service to Liverpool.[10]

'Dandy'. one of the old horse-drawn carriages.

As a cheap alternative to a horse-drawn service was provided in 1856 between Drumburgh and Port Carlisle for a number of years. In 1914 steam power was used and to try and avoid closure, a steam railmotor called 'Flower of Yarrow' was built and this service to Port Carlisle railway station lasted until the branch was closed in 1932.[11] Freight services had been withdrawn in 1899.

By altering sediment-carrying currents the construction of Solway railway viaduct of the Solway Junction Railway caused Port Carlisle harbour to silt up and lose trade, which in turn eventually resulted in the abandonment of the Port Carlisle to Carlisle railway. The large Ravenbank Jetty further up the Solway had also thrown the River Eden off towards the Scottish side and further hindered access to the port.[12][13]

The Port Carlisle Railway Company had agreed to supply a locomotive if the C&SBRDC provided rolling stock. The North British Railway leased the line from 1862, it was absorbed by them in 1880, and then taken over by the London and North Eastern Railway in 1923.[9]

On the day of closure residents gathered in a bower on the bowling green and passed a motion that "the line had been closed because of the poor and inadequate service offered to the public."[12]


The station had a substantial station house and a single platform intersected by a road crossing. A spur with sidings ran down towards the old canal jetty basin, a longer siding ran down to a second jetty and a turntable was located near the tumulus.[14]

The line of the old railway and canal near Port Carlisle.

At Canal Junction the Port Carlisle line made an end on junction with the earlier goods branch from London Road and it was this section on to Drumburgh (pronounced drum-bruff) that was taken over by the Carlisle & Silloth Bay Railway & Dock Company. Immediately west of Drumburgh station the line branched off from the line to Silloth, passing under a minor road to Port Carlisle. The branch ran close to the south bank of the Solway Firth and the course of Hadrians Wall heading over low ground to the terminus of the line at Port Carlisle.


The Brampton to Brampton Junction line was also worked by a horse-drawn carriage from circa 1838 to 1881 and was known as the 'dandy' line.[15]

Until the 1980s the station platform was fully intact and open to view; it has since been infilled and is part of a car park.[16]

The railway leading to Port Carlisle lay close to the course of Hadrians Wall for much of its course.[11]

Four horse-drawn 'Dandy cars' built by the North British Railway. The Dandy car was originally preserved at Carlisle, before being moved to the National Railway Museum at York. Port Carlisle became a day tourist attraction to Carlisle Victorians.[17] Isaac Hickson was the driver of the horse-drawn train, and he became the guard on the steam powered train that entered service on 6 April 1914.[18]

The 'Flower of Yarrow' Sentinel Railcar used on the line was driven by James Grey with T. Jackson as the fireman worked on the Port Carlisle Railway in 1932, before its final closure.[11]

Preceding station Disused railways Following station
Line and station closed
  Port Carlisle Railway Company   Terminus


  1. ^ Joy 1973, p. 59.
  2. ^ Gammell 1994, p. 276.
  3. ^ Hammond 2016, p. 56.
  4. ^ Linsley 2000, p. 78.
  5. ^ Butt 1995, p. 189.
  6. ^ Solway Plain - Past and Present Retrieved : 2012-08-01
  7. ^ Cumbria Railways Retrieved : 2012-08-23
  8. ^ a b Ramshaw 1997, p. 1.
  9. ^ a b Cumbria Railway Retrieved : 2012-08-01
  10. ^ Ramshaw 1997, p. 137.
  11. ^ a b c Port Carlisle Railway Retrieved : 2012-08-01
  12. ^ a b White 1984.
  13. ^ Ramshaw 2013, pp. 117-120.
  14. ^ Geography Portal Retrieved : 2012-08-01
  15. ^ Jones 2012, p. 124.
  16. ^ Port Carlisle station Retrieved : 2012-08-01
  17. ^ Visit Cumbria Retrieved : 2012-08-01
  18. ^ White 1984, p. 22.
  • 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. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199.
  • Gammell, C. J. (May 1994). Kennedy, Rex, ed. "Just a few lines... Cumbria". Steam Days. Bournemouth: Redgauntlet Publications (57). ISSN 0269-0020.
  • Hammond, John M. (May 2016) [1976]. Peascod, Michael, ed. "Four Wheels and Four Legs to the Solway The Dandy Cars of Port Carlisle". Cumbrian Railways. Pinner: Cumbrian Railways Association. 12 (2). ISSN 1466-6812.
  • Jones, Mark (2012). Discovering Britain's First Railways. A Guide to Horse-Drawn Tramroads and Waggonways. Stroud: The History Press. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-7524-6273-8.
  • Joy, David (1973). Railways of the Lake Counties. Clapham, North Yorkshire: Dalesman Publishing. ISBN 978-0-85206-200-5.
  • Linsley, Robin (2000). Railways in camera : archive photographs of the great age of steam from the Public Record Office : 1860-1913. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84015-109-1.
  • Ramshaw, David (1997). The Carlisle Navigation Canal, 1821-53. Carlisle: P3 Publications. ISBN 978-0-9522098-5-0.
  • Ramshaw, David (2013). The Carlisle Ship Canal, 1821-53. Carlisle: P3 Publications. ISBN 978-0-9572412-4-4.
  • White, Stephen (1984). Solway Steam. The Story of the Silloth and Port Carlisle Railways 1854-1964. Carlisle: Carel Press. ISBN 978-0-9509096-1-5.

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