Sellafield railway station

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Sellafield National Rail
Sellafield railway station in 2005.jpg
Place Sellafield
Local authority Copeland
Coordinates 54°25′01″N 3°30′36″W / 54.417°N 3.510°W / 54.417; -3.510Coordinates: 54°25′01″N 3°30′36″W / 54.417°N 3.510°W / 54.417; -3.510
Grid reference NY020034
Station code SEL
Managed by Northern
Number of platforms 2
DfT category F1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2011/12 Increase 0.221 million
2012/13 Increase 0.236 million
2013/14 Decrease 0.223 million
2014/15 Increase 0.243 million
2015/16 Decrease 0.204 million
Key dates Opened 1850 (1850)
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Sellafield from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal

Sellafield railway station serves the nuclear facility of Sellafield in Cumbria, England. The railway station is a stop on the scenic Cumbrian Coast Line, 11 12 miles (18.5 km) south of Whitehaven. Some through trains to the Furness Line towards Lancaster stop here. It is operated by Northern who provide all passenger train services.

The station (which dates from 1850) is a busy freight location, as much of the nuclear waste for Sellafield's Thorp nuclear fuel reprocessing plant is carried by train here from the docks in Barrow-in-Furness or from rail-connected nuclear power stations elsewhere in the UK. The facility also generates significant commuter traffic for the railway, with workers travelling by train to their jobs here from the nearby towns & villages.[1]

The station marks the end of the single line section from Whitehaven, which is operated using the electric key token system. From here the line southwards towards Ravenglass and Barrow is double track, except for the final section between Park South Junction (south of Askam) and Barrow, also single since the late 1980s. The station track configuration is unusual in that the southbound ('up' line) is bi-directional through the station and has platform faces on both sides[2] (though only the western one is actually used, the other side being fenced off) - this allows trains from the south to terminate here & turn back without having to enter the single line section to St Bees. The signal box controlling the layout is located at the north end of the station, whilst the plant exchange sidings and loco depot used by DRS freight trains are to the south. Two water cranes are sited at the station (one at each end).[3]

The station was also the southern terminus of the former Whitehaven, Cleator and Egremont Railway line from Egremont from August 1869 until its closure in March 1964.[4]

Historical diagram; Sellafield on right showing line to Egremont


The station is not staffed and has no ticketing facilities, so these must be bought on the train or prior to travel. It does have a waiting room on the southbound platform and a shelter on the opposite side; the rest of the main buildings are in private commercial use. The platforms are linked by footbridge - this doesn't have ramps, so only the Barrow platform has step-free access.[5] Train running information is provided by digital information screens, timetable posters and telephone.


There are eleven trains a day from the station each weekday to Whitehaven and Carlisle northbound and twelve to Barrow southbound[6] (with one train fewer each way on Saturdays) since the 2008 timetable change (an improvement of two each way compared to the previous 2007-8 service level). Certain southbound trains continue on to Lancaster. It was reported in November 2011 that Direct Rail Services had applied to the Office of Rail Regulation to operate one train in each direction between Carlisle and Sellafield to carry workers to Sellafield.[7] Four trains per day each way now operate (since May 2015) using Mark 2 coaches and Class 37 diesel locomotives hired in from DRS to provide additional seating capacity for Sellafield plant workers.

There is no evening or Sunday service.


  1. ^ "Places to Visit - Sellafield"Cumbrian Coast Line website; Retrieved 14 November 2016
  2. ^ Sellafield station, looking south Thompson, Nigel; Retrieved 2 December 2016
  3. ^ Sellafield Station Old Cumbria Gazetteer; Retrieved 2 December 2016
  4. ^ Marshall, J (1981) Forgotten Railways North-West England, David & Charles (Publishers) Ltd, Newton Abbott. ISBN 0-7153-8003-6; p.163
  5. ^ Sellafield station facilities National Rail Enquiries; Retrieved 2 December 2016
  6. ^ Table 100 National Rail timetable, May 2016
  7. ^ Clinnick, Richard (2 November 2011). "'Sellafield workers' trains will start this year' says DRS". RAIL (682): 6–7. ISSN 0953-4563. 

External links[edit]

Preceding station   National Rail National Rail   Following station
Cumbrian Coast Line
Mondays-Saturdays only