5 minute read – All under one roof: rail workers revive Cumbrian visitor attraction

Thousands of pounds have been spent making repairs to a Cumbrian Coast line station building which is home to a popular visitor attraction.

Network Rail has invested £30,000 to improve the roof at Millom station where the Millom Heritage and Arts Centre is based.

A leaking roof has now been fixed meaning that the much-loved attraction is ready to welcome back visiting tourists and rail passengers in time for the peak summer season.

The centre has a local social and industrial history museum, an educational rail facility, creative poetry and writing room, café, community ticket and travel information centre and a newly refurbished passenger waiting room.

Karen Hornby, head of performance and customer relations at Network Rail’s North West route, said: “When people think about the inside of a railway station, they may think of a waiting room and a ticket office. But as Millom station shows the space inside can offer so much more to the community.

“This is why I’m proud our £30,000 repairs to fix the roof will keep the Millom Heritage & Arts Centre open for business not just for the summer months, but all year round.”

Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern said: “We would like to thank Network Rail for completing this work.  Millom Heritage & Arts Centre is something for visitors to the station, and everyone in the community to embrace, enjoy and be proud of.” 

Jade Hughes, Millom Heritage and Arts Centre trustee, said “We’re extremely grateful to Network Rail for coming to our rescue. This now enables us to carry on welcoming visitors from near and far.”

Warren Birch, Cumbrian Coast Line community rail partnership officer, said “This essential piece of work provides a stability to the building that will see Millom Heritage & Arts Centre flourish for many years to come.”

Millom station is located on the picturesque Cumbrian Coast line between Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness.

This route boasts stunning views of West Cumbrian countryside, the Irish sea and enticing beaches.

Meanwhile passengers returning to the railway can travel in confidence with enhanced cleaning regimes in place.

Rail users are encouraged to wear a face covering while travelling if they can.

Historic signal box restoration on picturesque Settle to Carlisle line

A Grade II listed signal box on one of the country’s most picturesque rail routes is being refurbished to improve future journeys for passengers and freight.

The signal box in Garsdale on the world famous Settle and Carlisle railway line is being upgraded as part of a £500,000 Great North Rail Project investment

The 111-year-old signal box’s structural timbers, outside cladding and electronics will be repaired. It will also get a new roof and windows.

The three-month upgrade starts on Monday 14 June.

The work has been planned so the signal box can continue operating to keep passenger and freight trains moving.

Rachel Slater, scheme project manager for Network Rail, said: “We take great care to maintain heritage structures on the railway and the Settle to Carlisle railway line is no exception.

“The historic signal box in Garsdale will be restored to its former glory as part of a half-a-million-pound Great North Rail Project investment. This will secure future journeys for passengers and freight on this iconic north west route.”

Tony Baxter, Regional Director at Northern, said: “The Settle and Carlisle Line is one of the most beautiful routes in the UK and we’re extremely proud to have it as part of our network.

“This restoration and upgrade shows the real value of the Great North Rail Project and the work of all partners to not only improve the railway, but also to keep alive its vital and historically important link to the past.”

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said: “The Settle to Carlisle railway line is massively important to both local commuters here in Cumbria but also to our world class visitor economy.

“So it’s fantastic news that Network Rail are working on upgrades to improve future services for passengers.”

Mark Rand, vice-president of the Friends of the Settle to Carlisle line, said: “We welcome the forthcoming improvements to Garsdale Signal box which was opened in July 1910, replacing two earlier boxes at what was then the very busy Hawes Junction. Besides being a junction it was where pilot engines could detach after assisting heavy trains over the ‘Roof of England’, turn round and return to their sheds at Hellifield to the south or Carlisle to the north.

“We look forward to seeing this important and historic location being carefully restored.”

The Garsdale improvements follow a major £2.1m investment to upgrade the world famous Ribblehead Viaduct on the same railway line earlier this year.

To read more about how Network Rail looks after heritage structures, visit: www.networkrail.co.uk/who-we-are/our-history/working-with-railway-heritage/