On 15th December 1846 the inaugural train from Lancaster arrived in Carlisle. Two days later, timetabled passenger services started. These events marked a milestone in the construction of what we now know as the London to Glasgow “West Coast Main Line”. At Carlisle and Penrith, it was now possible to travel to and from the south by rail.

This sixty-nine mile railway from Lancaster to Carlisle, across Shap summit, and the associated stations and viaducts, had taken an incredibly short 30 months to complete.

The Cumbrian Railways Association (CRA), Avanti West Coast, Network Rail, and the Cumbria Community Rail Partnership are joining together to mark this significant event.

CRA Chairman Philip Tuer says: “The CRA and our other partners believe that this milestone of railway construction should be properly recognised and celebrated as a key event for Cumbria, Penrith, Carlisle and the railway network as a whole.”

Mark Green, Station Manager at Avanti West Coast, says: “We’re proud to be playing our part in this important celebration with the railway community and local people. As gateways to the North Lakes and the City of the Lakes, Penrith and Carlisle stations are key destinations on our route, where our iconic Pendolino trains provide a clean, green journey option for visitors to the region.

At Avanti West Coast we want to connect people and places, so we’re excited to highlight the vital role the Lancaster and Carlisle railway has played for the community and transporting visitors over the last 175 years, which remains just as important today.”


Commemorative plaques will be unveiled and displays of photographs of the line, stations and trains will be on show at both Penrith and Carlisle stations during week commencing 13 December. All are welcome to come and see them.

Penrith Station: From Monday 13 to Wednesday 15 December the displays will be on view at the old Station House from 1000 to 1500 each day.

Carlisle Station:  From Thursday 16 to Saturday 18 December the photographs will be on view on the station concourse, there will also be many stands and displays from other organization’s at the station over the three days.