Line History

Pre 1950

 Windermere Station in LNWR days

Photo © Cumbrian Railways Association


An outing from the Zion church on Kendal station in about 1910

Photo © Cumbrian Railways Association


'Waterloo' class locomotive 2153 'Isis' seen on the turntable at Windermere, probably around 1900.

Photo by courtesy of Roger Martindale

Aug 1844
Proposals for a railway between Kendal and Windermere, and Provisional list of Directors published.

30 Jun 1845 The K&WR Act (V8 & 9 c32) published: An Act for making a railway from the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway to Birthwaite in the parish of Windermere, to be called "The Kendal and Windermere Railway".

16 Jul 1845 Cornelius Nicholson, the man behind the establishment of the K&WR, ceremonially cut the first sod.

22 Sep 1846 Opening of the line from Kendal - Oxenholme, at the same time as the southern portion of the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway to Oxenholme. Passengers changed from the train at Kendal to travel north by coach north, along what is now the A6.

20 Apr 1847 The railway opened through to Windermere amid much ceremony and feasting.

May 1858 K&W Railway leased by the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway.

Aug 1859 Lancaster and Carlisle Railway (including the K&W) became part of the London and North Western Railway (LNWR).

1881 Oxenholme Station rebuilt.

1884 Kendal Station enlarged by provision of up platform.

1905 The "Club Train" began running to Manchester with special accommodation for the leading Manchester businessmen, whose homes were on Windermere.

1923 The LNWR became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS).

1948 The LMS formed the major component of British Rail's London Midland region as part of nationalisation of all of Britain's railways.


LMS locos at Windermere Station as steam gave way to diesel.

Photo © Cumbrian Railways Association

POST 1950




A Sprinter train in British Rail livery seen between Windermere and Staveley


A class 175 train, introduced by First North Western, in the Lakes Line platform at Oxenholme station.

1962 Oxenholme engine shed closed.

1964 Staveley signal box, Staveley and Burneside goods yards closed.

1966 The Manchester "Club Train" ceased running.

1971 Burneside and Staveley stations became unstaffed.

29 April 1973 Kendal and Burneside station signal boxes closed.

13 May 1973 The Branch reduced from double to single track; Oxenholme and Windermere signal boxes closed.

February 1984 Lakes Line Action Group formed.

1986 The new station at Windermere opened.

1991 The new shelter at Kendal station opened.

May 1994 Through trains to Manchester Airport introduced in the summer timetable.

April 1997 On privatization British Rail’s ‘Regional Railways North West’ became the North Western Trains franchise.  Later this was taken over by First Group to become First North Western.

Mar 2002 The Branch was closed for 16 days for complete relaying with continuous welded rail.

February 2005 Services taken over by First TransPennine Express (TPE).

August 2006 Windermere station refurbished.

December 2006 Services taken over by TPE Class 185 'Pennine' trains.

April 2016 The franchise passed to Arriva, trading as Northern Railway.

June 2018 Northern replaced all Lakes Line trains with buses after its new timetable collapsed. After two weeks locally based West Coast Railways ran a skeleton service, which was welcomed by locals and visitors alike.

March 2020 The franchise was taken over early by the Government after poor performance by Northern.

July 2020 The first day of the new class 195 diesel trains working the Lakes Line. Below: David Dockray's photo shows a class 195 unit at Black Moss, near Windermere.