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Windermere station event celebrates 175 years of Cumbria’s railways

Community Rail Cumbria, alongside Northern, Community Rail Network and other partners and local dignitaries, marked 175 years since the opening of the Lakes Line at a special event at Windermere station on 27 April.

The Lakes Line and the Furness Railway both opened in 1846, transforming the way goods and passengers were transported in Cumbria. The Lakes Line was then extended through Burneside and Staveley to Windermere in 1847.

The event in Windermere in April was the finale in a year long programme of activity celebrating the history of Cumbria’s railways and featured the unveiling of a commemorative plaque and a traditional brass band performance. One of Northern’s Class 195 trains, which was renamed Pride of Cumbria last October as part of the earlier celebrations, also made a special appearance in Windermere with a new nameplate for the occasion.

Martin Clarke, Community rail support and sustainability manager at Community Rail Network, said: “Our railways are fundamentally about people and bringing communities together. This wonderful series of events over the past year, celebrating 175 years of railways in Cumbria, has demonstrated the pride people have in their community and their railway.

“They have shown how the coming of the train has been integral to the area’s history, allowing industry to develop and tourism to flourish. Community Rail Cumbria, and everyone involved with project 175, have showcased this iconic message superbly well in their celebrations, and we’ve been delighted to support the project through the Community Rail Development Fund.”

Chris Jackson, Regional director at Northern, said: “A huge thank you to everyone who’s been involved in making these celebratory events happen, including Community Rail Cumbria and the 175 Committees, made up of our fantastic volunteers.” 

“The commemorations, and community events would not have been possible but for the fantastic contributions from our volunteers, aided by the robust support from community stakeholders and the rail industry.

“Northern is proud to be a part of such rich heritage and community and as we look back on 175 years of progress, we also look forward to delivering further improvements in the area to continue to make a positive impact for the North.”  

Ian Conway, Chair of the Lakes Line 175 committee, said: “I have been delighted to welcome guests to the finale event of our 175 anniversary celebrations at Windermere station. The past two years have seen a tremendous number of hours and effort put in by an amazing array of station volunteers, community organisations and rail industry colleagues. Their passion, enthusiasm and collaboration has brought about a wonderful year of celebrations for both the Lakes line and Furness Railway. 

“I look forward to building on the successful joint working with the Furness 175 Committee and, despite the extraordinary challenges of Covid-19, I am proud that we have been able to revive our railway history, reconnect communities and inspire rail travelers to return to the railway.

Find out more about the work of Community Rail Cumbria here.