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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Cumbrian coast journey is Britain's most spectacular train ride

A journey along the Cumbrian coast has been named Britain’s most spectacular train ride in a new book.

Michael Williams photo
Michael Williams

On The Slow Train, by Michael Williams, celebrates the 12 best rail journeys in beauty spots around the UK. Top of the list is the Northern Rail Carlisle to Preston line, stopping at Workington, Whitehaven and Barrow-in-Furness.

The four-hour journey takes travellers along the Cumbrian coast, sometimes close enough to the sea for waves lap over the track.

Michael said: “I think it’s the most beautiful railway line in Britain. Very few people use it, except for people in Carlisle who use it to travel down to places like Maryport and Whitehaven.

“The views from the carriage are just fantastic as you go along the coast, with the Cumbrian fells on the one side and the sea on the other.”

The book also celebrates Carlisle’s best-known rail route, the Carlisle to Settle line, passing over the famous Ribblehead Viaduct. A lesser-travelled gem is the London to Edinburgh sleeper train, also listed in the book, that stops in Carlisle.

He added: “You could probably say fairly that there’s no greater centre for train journeys in Britain than Carlisle. If you were to stand at Carlisle train station this afternoon, you could get a train to Newcastle, to Leeds or Preston and they’re all spectacular journeys.”

As a London-based journalist and lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, in Preston, Michael spends a lot of time on long train journeys. But his love of rail travel for its own sake began in a previous job as a newspaper executive.

“I wouldn’t say that fast train journeys are a bad thing, but there’s a great positive aspect to going a bit slower,” he said. “You can see the countryside when you’re not sitting in a traffic jam and it’s just a chance to slow yourself down.”

Have your say

I return to the UK every two years to the Lancaster area.Early morning first train out heading for Carel,non Cummerlan' lads its Carlisle,off at Ravenglass,'"on't laal ratty" up Eskdale, walk to Boot for a Pint,then back to the main line and on to Carlisle,and then Fast train back to Lancaster.I don't have the words to describe this journey, I endorse the Authors comments,a will take the ride again this November

Posted by Malcolm Campbell on 10 November 2010 at 09:53

Magical stuff! When I was a lad, we spent many days out at Silloth, Maryport, Workington and Whitehaven and the joys of the train journeys were magnificent to say the least. Many folk are disheartened by the grey, ageing and dilapidated industrial rail lines, especially at focal points like Crewe but, as written in the author's book, the West Coast line is a joy to behold! Hallelujah Cumbria!!!

Posted by Rupert McDonald on 8 May 2010 at 11:13

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