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Early railway development in Carlisle took place very haphazardly with every successive arriving railway company having to come to terms with the positions already established by its predecessors. First on the scene was the Newcastle & Carlisle Railway, opening its London Road station in July 1836, and the branch to Canal basin extending round the then south side of the city in the following March. In the mid-1840s the Maryport & Carlisle, the Lancaster & Carlisle and the Caledonian added lines to other points of the compass, further confining the city on its south and west sides.

In the pre-railway era a canal had been built to connect Carlisle with the sea at Port Carlisle, and in 1854 this was converted into another railway which a few years later was taken over the North British Railway as its new line arrived in Carlisle from Hawick in 1862.

As traffic grew rapidly in the 1860s, and particularly the amount of freight being exchanged between the various companies, the facilities of the Border City gradually became more and more strained, despite piecemeal improvement. With the impending arrival of the Midland Railway a massive reconstruction of the approach lines to Citadel station, and new system of goods avoiding lines was embarked on and completed in 1878 followed by a large extension of the station itself with the construction of two new through platforms and a new overall roof, all completed in 1880.

Citadel station was owned and operated jointly by the Lancaster & Carlisle (later the London & North Western) and Caledonian Railways. The other five railway companies operating into Carlisle were all tenants in the station, though it was not until the 1860s that all passenger services were diverted into Citadel from London Road and Canal stations.

Until 1922 each railway company working into Carlisle maintained its own traffic and maintenance facilities, giving rise to a heavy local interchange traffic between the various goods yards and depots. At the grouping of 1923 the London Midland & Scottish Railway took over the London & North Western, the Midland, the Maryport & Carlisle, the Caledonian and the Glasgow & South Western Railways, while the London & North Eastern Railway absorbed the North Eastern and North British, the latter including the branch to Silloth. An extensive rationalisation may be been expected, and some relatively minor economies did take place including the reduction of the number of locomotive depots from seven to four. However, major change awaited the British Railways Modernisation Plan of the mid 1950s, and the construction of Kingmoor Marshalling Yard which opened in 1963. By then, however, it was really too late with the massive decline in rail freight in favour of road, and the switch away from wagon-load traffic to long-distance block trains and containers.

To celebrate the 175th.Anniversary of the first passenger services, the CRA provided pictorial displays at Penrith and Carlisle Stations. The Press Release publicising these displays can be downloaded from below.

Openings and Closures
Please note that Openings and Closures of railways into Carlisle are detailed under the route sections of this website.
Station Opened Closed
Carlisle London Road (N&CR/NER) 19 July 1836 1 January 1863
(train services diverted into Citadel station)
Carlisle Bogfield (M&CR) 10 May 1843
(closed on opening of Crown Street)
Carlisle Crown Street (M&CR) 30 December 1844 17 March 1849
Carlisle Citadel station (LNW/Cal Rlys) 10 September 1847
(extended station opened) 1 July 1880 Open
Carlisle Canal (NBR) 22 June 1854 1 July 1864
(train services diverted into Citadel station)
Goods Lines
Line Opened Closed
Carlisle Goods Traffic Committee lines 8 July 1877
(Willowholme Junction to Bog Junction) 1 May 1984
Dentonholme Joint Line 1 October 1883
(Dentonholme North to Dentonholme South) (NB, G&SW, Mid Rlys)
Kingmoor Marshalling Yard and approach lines 18 February 1963 Sections 1972 onward

For further reading see Bibliography