Eden District Council Leader, Cllr. Virginia Taylor, has attended the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at Penrith Railway Station to mark the 175th anniversary for the Lancaster to Carlisle Railway Line.
On 15 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 is 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.
Cllr. Taylor, said: “Penrith’s national connectivity began with the arrival of the railway in 1846, linking us to the capitals of London and Scotland at speeds not so very different from today’s, and opening up possibilities of economic development in tourism and the transport of goods and produce.
“The Victorians completed their infrastructure projects in double quick time – a pity that we’re unlikely to see HS2 here in anything like the 30 months it took to construct the Lancaster to Carlisle Railway.”
The Cumbrian Railways Association (CRA) Chairman Philip Tuer said: “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, said: “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.”
The commemorative plaque was unveiled by CRA Trustee and Penrith resident, Ken Harper, at Penrith Train Station on Wednesday 15 December and displays of photographs of the line, stations and trains were on show at both Penrith and Carlisle stations.