The Railway


Cleator Moor had three passenger stations - the original 1857 Cleator Moor station became a goods station when it was replaced in 1866. Its replacement went on to be known as Cleator Moor East, and The rival station in 1879 went on to be known as Cleator Moor West.

The Cleator Moor West railway station was opened as "Cleator Moor" by the Cleator and Workington Junction Railway (C&WJR) in 1879. It served the growing industrial town of Cleator Moor, Cumbria, England. It was mainly used for coal, limestone and iron ore traffic for the local industries.

All lines in the area were primarily aimed at mineral traffic, notably iron ore, coal and limestone, none more so than the new line to Workington, which earned the local name "The Track of the Ironmasters". General goods and passenger services were provided, but were very small beer compared with mineral traffic.

The founding Act of Parliament of June 1878 confirmed the company's agreement with the Furness Railway that the latter would operate the line for one third of the receipts.

At the railway grouping of 1923, the line was incorporated into the London, Midland and Scottish Railway network.

Passenger trains consisted of antiquated Furness stock hauled largely by elderly Furness engines referred to as "...rolling ruins..." by the author Grandon McGowan after a footplate ride in 1949.

No Sunday passenger service was ever provided on the line.

Cleator Moor West closed on 13 April 1931 when normal passenger traffic ended along the line. Diversions and specials, for example to football matches, made use of the line, but it was not easy to use as a through north-south route because all such trains would have to reverse at Moor Row or Corkickle.

An enthusiasts' special ran through on 6 September 1954, the only to do so using main line passenger stock. The next such train to traverse any C&WJR metals did so in 1966 at the north end of the line, three years after the line through Cleator Moor closed.

Cleator Moor East railway station was the second station built by the C&WJR in the growing industrial town of Cleator Moor, Cumbria, England.

Subsidence led the company to build a deviation line which curved round the west side of the original station and the growing settlement, in a similar manner to what it was forced to do at Eskett a few miles to the east. They built a passenger station on the deviation line - known locally as "The Bowthorn Line" - which would go on to be called Cleator Moor East.

Cleator Moor Railway Station, C1906
Cleator Moor Railway Station
Cleator Moor Railway Station, C1960
When the deviation line and station opened in 1866 the original station was closed to passengers and became "Cleator Moor Goods Depot." It remained open for goods traffic until the 1950s.

Whilst some Whitehaven, Cleator and Egremont Railway (WCER) mineral, goods and passenger traffic to and from Rowrah passed north along the line to Marron Junction, the greater part arrived and left southwards towards Moor Row and therefore passed through Cleator Moor. Mineral traffic was also generated locally from the quarries and mines such as the Iron Works within sight of the station.

In 1922 seven all stations passenger trains called at Cleator Moor East in each direction, with an extra on Whitehaven Market Day. Four were Rowrah to Whitehaven services, the other three plied a long, circuitous route between Workington Main and Whitehaven via Camerton, Marron Junction, Ullock, Rowrah and Moor Row.

Cleator Moor East station's owning Whitehaven, Cleator and Egremont company was taken over by the LNWR and Furness Railway in 1879 as a Joint Line, whereafter the section through the station was usually worked by the LNWR. Goods traffic typically consisted of a two daily turns Up and Down.

L&NW and FR Boundary Stone, Woodend Railway Station
L&NW and FR Boundary Stone
Mineral traffic was the dominant flow, though this was subject to considerable fluctuation with trade cycles. Stations and signalling along the line south of Rowrah were changed during the Joint regime to conform to Furness Railway standards.

Cleator Moor East station closed on 13 April 1931 when normal passenger traffic ended along the line, though workmen's trains were reinstated in March 1940, only to be withdrawn a month later. An enthusiasts' special ran through on 5 September 1954. After scant occasional use the line northwards from Rowrah was abandoned in 1960 and subsequently lifted.

The line southwards from Rowrah through Cleator Moor East lead a charmed life, continuing with a limestone flow from a quarry at Rowrah until 1978, after which all traffic ceased and the tracks were lifted.
  • The London and North Western Railway (LNWR, L&NWR) was a British railway company between 1846 and 1922. In the late 19th century the L&NWR was the largest joint stock company in the United Kingdom.
  • The old railway at Cleator Moor now forms a part of the Coast to Coast or Sea to Sea Cycle Route (C2C). It is a 140 miles (230 km) cycle route opened in 1994, claimed to be Great Britain's most popular long-distance cycle route.
Top Photo: Cleator Moor Railway Station, C1906



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Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Little Ireland: The Railway
The Railway
Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Little Ireland
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