Furness line

Last updated
Furness line
Northern Rail Class 153, 153352, platform 5, Lancaster railway station (geograph 4499730).jpg
Overview
StatusOperational
Owner Network Rail
Locale Cumbria
Lancashire
Furness
Barrow-in-Furness
North West England
Termini Carnforth
Barrow in Furness
Stations10
Service
Type Heavy rail, Commuter rail
System National Rail
Operator(s) Northern
Rolling stock Class 68 'UKLight'
Class 156 'Super Sprinter'
Class 195 'Civity'
History
Opened1846–1857 (in stages)
Technical
Line length28 mi 45 ch (45.97 km)
Number of tracks2
Track gauge 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification 25 kV 50 Hz AC OHLE (Carnforth)
Operating speed60 mph (97 km/h) maximum
Furness line
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Barrow-in-Furness
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Furness Railway
to Barrow Docks
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Power Station
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Roose
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Furness Abbey
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Dalton
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Lindal
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Ulverston
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Cark and Cartmel
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Wraysholme Halt
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Kents Bank
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Grange-over-Sands
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Arnside
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Silverdale
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Carnforth
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Bolton-le-Sands
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Hest Bank
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Lancaster
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The Furness line is a British railway between Barrow-in-Furness and Lancaster, joining the West Coast Main Line at Carnforth. A predominantly passenger line, it serves various towns along the Furness coast, including Barrow-in-Furness, Ulverston and Grange-over-Sands. It runs through Cumbria and Lancashire.

Contents

Regional services on the line start from Manchester Airport and Preston, while local services start from Preston and Lancaster. The majority of services along the line terminate at Barrow-in-Furness, however some services continue along the Cumbrian Coast Line to Millom, Sellafield and Carlisle. The line was constructed by the Ulverston and Lancaster Railway and the Furness Railway between 1846 and 1857, and today has services operated by Northern.

Along with the Cumbrian Coast Line, the route is considered one of the most scenic in England. The line was designated a community rail partnership by the Department for Transport in 2012. [1] The line is electrified between Lancaster and Carnforth where the route leaves the West Coast Main Line, which previously allowing for sleeper services between Barrow and London Euston.

History

The line was opened in stages between 1846 and 1857 to link the mineral industries in the area. The area was very isolated before the railway opened, with the only road crossing to reach the area over Morecambe Bay. The Furness Railway was first proposed in November 1843, linking the slate quarries of Kirkby in Furness and iron ore in the Lindal in Furness area to a deep water berth at Roa Island. It was originally intended to be used solely as a mineral railway, however provisions were made for a branch to Barrow and a link to Ulverston, the largest local town at the time. [2]

The line slowly expanded to link up with what is today the Cumbrian Coast Line, in addition to an extension to Ulverston in 1854. In 1857, the Ulverston and Lancaster Railway completed its route, linking to the Carlisle and Lancaster Railway. The line eventually began to expand, purchasing the Whitehaven and Furness Junction Railway. The railway company eventually refused to purchase the Whitehaven Junction railway, leading to a situation where the Furness Railway was heavily influenced by the London and North Western Railway.

The line continued to develop in the 1880s, especially in the Barrow area. A through station was constructed, removing the need to reverse as was the case at the Strand terminus. A passenger station had been opened at Ramsden Dock a year before to connect with the new Isle of Man and later Belfast steamer services. [2]

Early twentieth century

In the early 20th century, passenger numbers had continued to decline. [3] As a result, an effort was made to modernise the line as a tourist railway, linking the country to the Lake District. This began a new era for the area, bringing thousands of tourists to Coniston and Windermere.

Under the Big Four, the line was brought under the control of the London, Midland & Scottish Railway on 31 December 1922. The Roa Island branch was closed in 1936, however the rest of the network remained open until the formation of British Railways. The Coniston branch closed in 1962 and the Lakeside branch in 1965, with part of the route being preserved as the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. [4] Sleeper services to London Euston ceased in 1990.

Modern era

Following the privatisation of British Rail in the 1990s, services were initially transferred to First North Western. First TransPennine Express took over the operation of regional express services to Manchester and Preston in 2004, while local services were transferred to Northern Rail.

Class 37 locomotives hauling Mark 2 carriages were used on the line between May 2015 [5] and May 2018, operating through services along the Cumbrian Coast line due to a shortage in rolling stock following the move of Class 170 'Turbostar' units to Chiltern Railways. [6] The change was controversial locally as the trains were old, and unreliable. Class 68 locomotives were introduced onto services temporarily in January 2018, [7] until through running of loco-hauled stock ended in May 2018.

In April 2016, operation of all services on the line was transferred to Arriva Rail North, with regional and local services again operated by the same train operating company. Services were operated using a variety of Sprinter diesel multiple units and Class 185 'Desiro' units subleased from TransPennine Express until July 2019. In July 2019, new Class 195 'Civity' units were introduced as part of the new franchise, with an increased number of services to Manchester.

Services

Following a recasting of rail franchises in the North of England by the Department for Transport, all services on the line are now operated by Northern. [8] Regional services to Manchester and Preston were previously operated by First TransPennine Express until 31 March 2016, and TransPennine Express Class 185s used by the previous franchise were used on some services to Manchester Airport by Northern.

The line received a modernised timetable in May 2018, with additional services to Manchester Airport introduced from July 2019. The service is unusual amongst those on the West Coast Main Line as it does not yet have a clockface timetable. This means that there are several gaps in the service, varying between 30 and 90 minutes. The new timetable was criticised by local schools due to the introduction of earlier services between Barrow and Ulverston. [9]

Future

New Class 195 'Civity' units will operate services from 2019. NRClass195101.jpg
New Class 195 'Civity' units will operate services from 2019.

Following a recasting of rail franchises in the North of England by the Department for Transport, all services on the line were transferred to Northern in April 2015. Services previously operated by First TransPennine Express will be operated by new 'Northern Connect' services from December 2019, [10] enhancing the previous service with 11 trains per day to Manchester Airport. The enhanced service will use new, air-conditioned Class 195 'Civity' units [11] and offer free onboard WiFi and faster journey times.


In addition to the introduction of Northern Connect services, an enhanced local service will also be introduced with 21tpd in both directions, compared to between 18-20tpd today. Additional services are to be extended from Lancaster to Preston to allow better links to Manchester, Liverpool and other West Coast Main Line services. On Sundays, an enhanced service is planned with up to 5-8 extra trains per day in each direction to both Lancaster and Manchester Airport. [8]

It is also intended to refurbish all stations served by Northern Connect services. These refreshed stations will provide higher standards with free WiFi and modern facilities. [12]

Related Research Articles

Northern Rail Former train operating company

Northern Rail was an English train operating company owned by Serco-Abellio that operated the Northern Rail franchise from 2004 until 2016. It was the primary passenger train operator in Northern England, and operated the most stations of any train operating company in the United Kingdom. Northern Rail was replaced on 1 April 2016 by Arriva Rail North.

Cumbrian Coast line

The Cumbrian Coast line is a rail route in North West England, running from Carlisle to Barrow-in-Furness via Workington and Whitehaven. The line forms part of Network Rail route NW 4033, which continues via Ulverston and Grange-over-Sands to Carnforth, where it connects with the West Coast Main Line.

Grange-over-Sands railway station Railway station in Cumbria, England

Grange-over-Sands is a railway station on the Furness Line, which runs between Barrow-in-Furness and Lancaster. The station, situated 15+12 miles (25 km) north-west of Lancaster, serves the town of Grange-over-Sands in Cumbria. It is owned by Network Rail and managed by Northern Trains.

Barrow-in-Furness railway station Railway station in Cumbria, England

Barrow-in-Furness is a railway station on the Cumbrian Coast Line and Furness Line. The station, situated 85+12 miles (138 km) south-west of Carlisle and 34+34 miles (56 km) north-west of Lancaster, serves the town of Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria. It is owned by Network Rail and managed by Northern Trains.

Lancaster railway station Railway station in Lancashire, England

Lancaster railway station is a railway station that serves the city of Lancaster in Lancashire, England. It is one of the principal stations on the West Coast Main Line. It is located 20 miles 78 chains (33.76 km) from Preston and is the zero point for mileages onward to Carlisle.

Carnforth railway station Railway station in Lancashire, England

Carnforth is a railway station on the Bentham Line and Furness Line. The station, situated 6 miles (10 km) north of Lancaster, serves the market town of Carnforth, City of Lancaster in Lancashire. It is owned by Network Rail and managed by Northern Trains.

Ulverston railway station Railway station in Cumbria, England

Ulverston is a railway station on the Furness Line, which runs between Barrow-in-Furness and Lancaster. The station, situated 9+12 miles (15 km) north-east of Barrow-in-Furness, serves the market town of Ulverston in Cumbria. It is owned by Network Rail and managed by Northern Trains.

Dalton railway station Railway station in Cumbria, England

Dalton is a railway station on the Furness Line, which runs between Barrow-in-Furness and Lancaster. The station, situated 5 miles (8 km) north-east of Barrow-in-Furness, serves the village of Dalton-in-Furness in Cumbria. It is owned by Network Rail and managed by Northern Trains.

Cark and Cartmel railway station Railway station in Cumbria, England

Cark is a railway station on the Furness Line, which runs between Barrow-in-Furness and Lancaster. The station, situated 15+14 miles (25 km) north-east of Barrow-in-Furness, serves the villages of Allithwaite, Cark, Cartmel and Flookburgh in Cumbria. It is owned by Network Rail and managed by Northern Trains.

Carlisle railway station Railway station in Cumbria, England

Carlisle railway station, or Carlisle Citadel, is a Grade II* listed railway station serving the city of Carlisle, Cumbria, England. It is on the West Coast Main Line, 102 miles (164 km) south east of Glasgow Central, and 299 miles (481 km) north north west of London Euston. It is the northern terminus of the Settle and Carlisle Line, a continuation of the Midland Main Line from Leeds, Sheffield and London St Pancras. It is so named because it is adjacent to Carlisle Citadel, a former medieval fortress. The station is owned by Network Rail.

First North Western Former train operating company

First North Western was a train operating company in England owned by FirstGroup, that operated the North West Regional Railways franchise from March 1997 until December 2004.

Chorley railway station

Chorley railway station serves the town of Chorley in Lancashire, England. Since 2004 it has been linked with Chorley Interchange bus and coach station. It is on the Manchester–Preston line.

Wigan North Western railway station One of two railway stations in Wigan, Greater Manchester, England

Wigan North Western railway station is one of two railway stations serving the town centre of Wigan, Greater Manchester, England.

The Manchester–Preston line runs from the city of Manchester to Preston, Lancashire. It is largely used by commuters entering Manchester from surrounding suburbs and cities, but is also one of the main railway lines in the North West and is utilised by TransPennine Express regional services and to Scotland. It was announced in December 2009 that the line would be electrified, following an announcement in July 2009 that the Chat Moss line between Manchester and Liverpool was to be electrified first. The electrification work for this line commenced in May 2015 and was due for completion in May 2018, but was delayed until December 2018.

Aspatria railway station Railway station in Cumbria, England

Aspatria is a railway station on the Cumbrian Coast Line, which runs between Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness via Whitehaven. The station, situated 20 miles (32 km) south-west of Carlisle, serves the village of Aspatria, Allerdale in Cumbria, England. It is owned by Network Rail and managed by Northern Trains.

Wigton railway station Railway station in Cumbria, England

Wigton is a railway station on the Cumbrian Coast Line, which runs between Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness via Whitehaven. The station, situated 11 miles (18 km) south-west of Carlisle, serves the village of Wigton, Allerdale in Cumbria, England. It is owned by Network Rail and managed by Northern Trains.

Dalston railway station (Cumbria) Railway station in Cumbria, England

Dalston is a railway station on the Cumbrian Coast Line, which runs between Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness via Whitehaven. The station, situated 3+34 miles (6 km) south-west of Carlisle, serves the village of Dalston, City of Carlisle in Cumbria, England. It is owned by Network Rail and managed by Northern Trains.

First TransPennine Express

First TransPennine Express was a British train operating company jointly owned by FirstGroup and Keolis which operated the TransPennine Express franchise. First TransPennine Express ran regular Express regional railway services between the major cities of Northern England as well as Scotland.

TransPennine Express British train operating company owned by FirstGroup operating the TransPennine Express franchise

TransPennine Express (TPE) is a British train operating company owned by FirstGroup that operates the TransPennine Express franchise. It runs regional and inter-city rail services between the major cities of Northern England and Scotland.

Arriva Rail North British railway company

Arriva Rail North was a train operating company in Northern England which began operating the Northern franchise on 1 April 2016 and inherited units from the previous operator Northern Rail. A subsidiary of Arriva UK Trains, Northern was the largest train franchise in the United Kingdom in terms of the size of the network and the number of weekly services run. Its trains called at 528 stations, about a quarter of all stations in the country; of these stations 476 were operated by Northern. On 1 March 2020, Arriva Rail North Limited ceased to operate and all operations were handed to HM Government's Operator of Last Resort.

References

  1. "Furness community rail partnership". UK Government. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  2. 1 2 "Furness Railway Company". The Furness Railway Trust.
  3. "Railway History". Lakeside Railway. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  4. "Some Early Lines – Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway". January 4, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  5. "New loco-hauled services for Cumbrian Coast". www.railtechnologymagazine.com. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  6. "FTPE to retain four Class 170s – but five will still go to Chiltern". www.railtechnologymagazine.com. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  7. "Northern trains promises more reliable service for Furness with new locomotive" . Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  8. 1 2 Transport, Department for. "Northern franchise improvements". maps.dft.gov.uk. Retrieved 2017-09-10.
  9. Fenton, Amy. "Hundreds of Barrow children face longer school days amid train timetable changes" . Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  10. Department, for Transport (2018-11-10). "Northern franchise train service requirements".
  11. Haigh, Phillip (2017-03-21). "Northern's new DMUs to begin testing from Spring 2018". Rail (magazine). Retrieved 2017-09-10.
  12. Department, for Transport (2018-11-10). "Northern Franchise Agreement" (PDF).