The Cumbrian Coast Line, as its name suggests, hugs the scenic coastline between Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness. For much of the route, the line runs very close to the coast and links the waters of the Solway with those of Morecambe Bay; both sites of special scientific interest (SSSI). Not only are the Solway and Morecambe Bay SSSIs but with the Duddon estuary, all are part of the Natura 2000 network of internationally protected areas with some of the largest concentrations of wildlife in the UK. These three estuaries include Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and have RAMSAR designation for the wetlands.
Not only is this line abounding in coastal scenery but it also runs through the Lake District National Park and offers views of the famous fells and the rolling pastures of the Solway Plain and Furness Peninsula. The line also traces many thousands of years of history as it runs close to ancient British stone circles, the western extension of Hadrian's Wall, historic ports and centres of mining and industry. Many of the railway lines, not just here but across the world, came from Workington, almost mid-way along the line.
At one end of the line is Carlisle, dating from its time as a centre of Roman power on Hadrian's Wall and now the county town for Cumbria. Nearby, is the border with Scotland and to the east lie the remains of the famous Roman wall, now a World Heritage Site. Carlisle is also a major transport hub with links to Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, via the well known Settle & Carlisle Railway, Manchester, Birmingham and London.
At the other end of the line lies Barrow-in-Furness, still famous for ship building and specialising in submarines. Around Barrow there are three internationally renowned nature reserves and you will also see evidence of settlement dating back to at least Viking times. You will see much evidence of the Energy Coast with wind turbines, gas platforms far out to sea and the ever changing face of Sellafield.
The Cumbrian Coast Line Community Rail Partnership was established in 2008 and aims to promote the line and improve the services and stations along its 132 km/82 mile length. The partnership includes the train operating company, local authorities and local businesses both large and small. It is not a line noted for fast trains and in Michael Williams' book, "On the Slow Train" he writes with affection of this timeless line where the scenery and journey are more important then the time taken to get to the destination.
Take a look at www.lakedistrictonboard.com which describes the best attractions across Cumbria and how to reach them via public transport.
This is the official website for the Cumbrian Coast Line Community Rail Partnership and the partnership is supported by two rail user groups, the Furness Line Rail Action Group (FLAG) for the south part of the route and the Copeland Rail User Group (CRUG - see crug.org.uk) for the rest. The e-mail contacts are:
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
The CRP's Annual Reports are attached to the Partnership Details page of this website.
For a look back into the history of the line, you can contact the Cumbrian Railways Association at www.cumbrianrailwaysassociation.org.uk.
For current information have a look at the News page and destination pages of this website and it will inspire you to travel along the line for work, education or pleasure. It inspired Mr Michael Portillo to travel the line using his Bradshaw Guide in the 2012 BBC 2 TV series.
If you are planning to stay in West Cumbria and want to explore the natural and cultural heritage in more detail, why not contact the specialist Blue Badge Guides? They can show you round or supply you with self guided walks. Just contact www.cumbriatouristguides.co.uk