With improvements in the making of coke from West Cumberland coal, the coke traffic over the Pennines declined quickly after 1910, disappearing altogether in the mid-1920s. By then the CK&P had become part of the LMS (London Midland & Scottish Railway) and the continued existence of the line was to depend on local passengers and freight supplemented by tourism. From the mid-1950s, even with the arrival of new lightweight diesel trains, the route's viability was undermined by the private car and more convenient bus services. The section west of Keswick and through to Workington was closed in April 1966, to be followed by the remainder from 6th March 1972. West of Keswick much of the route has since been utilised for the reconstructed A66 trunk road which provides the current transport lifeline for West Cumbria. The section between Keswick and Penrith is the subject of a locally-led scheme for re-opening of the railway.
The CK&P always enjoyed a service of passenger trains running through between Penrith and Workington, with some trains starting at Carlisle. Weight restrictions limited the size of locomotives for so steeply graded a line, most passenger trains being worked by LNWR
After closure of the route west from Keswick extensive rationalisation took place to reduce operating costs on the remaining section to Penrith. Stations were destaffed, double-track sections reduced to single line, signalling removed and signal boxes closed so that the line operated only with one train at a time. Although County Council surveys revealed a high degree of dependence of the local tourism industry on the railway, approval to closure was granted with the final day in a snow storm in March 1972.
|Penrith to Cockermouth||2 January 1865|
|Cockermouth to Keswick||18 April 1966|
|(closure included former LNWR line between Cockermouth and Workington)|
|Keswick to Penrith||6 March 1972|
|Cockermouth||18 April 1966|
|Embleton||15 September 1958|
|Bassenthwaite Lake||18 April 1966|
|Braithwaite||18 April 1966|
|Keswick||6 March 1972|
|Troutbeck||6 March 1972|
|Penruddock||6 March 1972|
|Blencow||6 March 1972|
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