Carlisle & Silloth Bay Railway

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Carlisle & Silloth Bay Railway

Carlisle & Silloth Bay Railway 1951

Silloth Bay had been charted by the Adniralty in the 1830's but it was not until 1852 that the Carlisle & Silloth Bay Railway & Dock Company was formed. This was to be the first wet dock on the Cumbrian Coast in an area which was almost totally deserted.

When the Carlisle & Silloth Bay Railway & Dock Company (C&SBRDC) opened their Carlisle to Silloth line in 1856 it utilised the Port Carlisle Branch as far as Drumburgh and the remaining part of the Port Carlisle line then became a horse worked branch. The Port Carlisle Railway Company agreed to supply a locomotive if the C&SBRDC provided rolling stock. The NBR leased the line from 1862 and it was absorbed by them in 1880. Several stations were at first only open on Saturdays! In 1954 the Carlisle & Silloth Bay Railway became the first line in the country to have steam trains replaced by diesel units but even so it closed completely ten years later.

As far as Drumburgh the line was almost entirely in cutting and level except where the locks had been. From Canal Junction the line headed NW for one mile, passing Canal station, to Port Carlisle Junction. Here it made a trailing connection with the line which left the WCML at Port Carlisle Branch Junction and a facing connection with the NBR line to Edinburgh. Canal loco shed (NY380565) on the right was sandwiched between this line and the River Eden and most of the way to Drumburgh it also kept close company with the course of Hadrians Wall. From Burgh-by-Sands the railway ran alongside a minor road and both headed west in a straight line for three miles. At Drumburgh it turned SW and was virtually straight for the next six miles passing Kirkbride station and junction where the Solway Junction Railway (SJR) joined from the north. At Abbey Junction (separate NBR and SJR stations) the SJR diverged south and this line swung round to the NW for the final five miles to the terminus and dock lines at Silloth.

From Canal Junction several paths follow this line and the area occupied by Canal loco shed from where it becomes a cycle track as far as an industrial estate. Little remains of the formation for the next five miles but from Dykesfield the railway embankment runs alongside the unfenced road and can be walked for 2 miles to Drumburgh. Most of the remaining thirteen miles has reverted to agricultural or private use except for about a mile has been used for a farm track south of Newton Arlosh and north of the River Waver there is a very well preserved section. The approach to Silloth station has been landscaped.

Kirkandrews and Burgh stations are now both residences; Drumburgh lost to road improvements Kirkbride Station house survives; Abbeyholme and Black Dyke residences; Silloth station part of platform with buildings converted into flats but boarded up in 1999 and planning permission has been submitted to Allerdale Coucil to demolish the station in 2006.

Click here to see some excellent Carlisle & Silloth Bay Railway Photo's

Click here to see Last Train to Silloth Video

The best book on the Carlisle and Silloth Bay Railway is Solway Steam - The Story of the Silloth and Port Carlisle Railway - Stephen White

Many thanks to everyone who helped with information and photos for the website Bibliography

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