West Cumberland Railway Museum

On the murky morning, when I took the first photo in the previous post, I visited the West Cumberland Railway Museum in St Bees, Cumbria.

The museum was set up by an enthusiastic collector of railway memorabilia and opened in June 2016. It is housed in a building, which has been used in recent times as a shop and as a hairdressers’. The single room contains a variety of items connected with the local railways, either with the Cumbria Coastal Railway or with former lines in the area. It opens for a few days each month or by special arrangement for visiting groups.

The window on a sunny day
The window on a sunny day

For each opening the well-organised static exhibition is augmented by a display concentrating on a particular aspect of the local railway’s history. For example, the Furness Railway Company has been featured. This time it was the turn of the Maryport and Carlisle Railway. A particular station may be featured in the future.

One of the station signs
One of the station signs

The development of the railway had an impact on the economies of local towns and there was competition to have access to the rail network. Almost all the trains in West Cumbria (or West Cumberland, as it was) were used to transport coal and iron ore. Passengers were of less economic importance on these lines.

An example of tourist information
An example of tourist information

It is possible to look around the museum unguided, but the owner is very knowledgeable and provides much background information. The exhibits range from tickets and timetables to lamps, gadgets, signs and pictures. Maps and drawings also help to set the scene.

Among pictures, which once decorated the walls of compartment trains advertising places to visit, I spotted Wordsworth House, Cockermouth, no longer on the railway.

Wordsworth House, Cockermouth - a possible destination
Wordsworth House, Cockermouth – a possible destination

 

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