Station Name: BASSENTHWAITE                          LAKE

[Source: Alan Young]


Date opened: 2.1.1865
Location: Immediately east of A66 at Dubwath
Company on opening:

Cockermouth, Keswick & Penrith Railway
Passenger trains operated by London & North Western Railway

Date closed to passengers: 18.4.1966
Date closed completely: 18.4.1966
Company on closing:

Goods:  British Railways (London Midland Region)
Passengers: British Rail (London Midland Region)

Present state: Stationmaster’s house in residential use.  Station building, including former Sub-Post Office building, is derelict. Railwaymen’s cottages are also derelict. Down platform is largely extant but overgrown.
County: Cumberland (Now Cumbria for administrative purposes)
OS Grid Ref: NY199310
Date of visit: January 2010

Notes: The first official CK&P reference to a station near the northern end of Bassenthwaite Lake was in 1861 to be at the most convenient position where the railway passed Smithy Green. At a Works Committee meeting on 10 November 1862 it was decided that the site of the station and mineral depot would be on the north side of the line with a siding for timber on the south side, and that a level crossing, rather than bridge, should be provided for the line to cross the turnpike road if the trustees were content. In November 1863 the CK&P Works Committee opened tenders which had been invited for the construction of stationmasters’ houses, and this included a house at ‘Piel Wyke’ station; the earliest OS maps indicate that this was the name of a hamlet about ¼-mile south of the station. On 2 December 1863 the contract was awarded to Bolton & Graham to construct Piel Wyke stationmaster’s house for £333. A Board meeting on 4 May 1864 decided on names for the stations, and this one was to be known as Bassenthwaite Lake. It seems that the Ordnance Survey was not informed that the station was to be called Bassenthwaite Lake as it was named Peelwyke on the 1:2,500 map published close to the date of opening of the line and station in 1865. In later OS maps the hamlet was no longer named, only the Pheasant Inn within it. By the end of the century the maps showed the correct name of the station. Local people usually shortened the name to ‘Bass Lake’.

Bassenthwaite Lake station stood immediately east of the level crossing on the Keswick – Cockermouth road. From its opening on 2 January 1865 it was a crossing place with two lines, each with a passenger platform. The main facilities were on the down (south) side. The single-storey stone building which contained the booking office, general waiting room and ladies’ room, was similar in size and layout to those at Penruddock, Troutbeck, Braithwaite and Embleton stations but more elaborate in design, having a gable over the office which projected onto the platform, rather than a continuation of the slope of the roof, and fancy bargeboards with decorative cresting on the roof. Attached to the south-eastern end of the building were a gents’ toilet and a store.

In 1910 the booking office section was extended south-westwards to provide space for a Post Office; the style of the extension was sympathetic to the existing building, of stone construction under a gabled slate roof. Later, the attractive bargeboards were replaced with plain ones and the cresting was removed. To the east of this building a pair of two-storey cottages under a half-hipped roof was erected sometime after the station opened to accommodate the two signalmen and their families; the cottages were of stone construction but were rendered, presumably at a later date. The handsome two-storey stone station house, also with half-hipped roof, stood to the west, close to the level crossing.  By contrast the only structure on the up platform was an undistinguished pent-roofed timber shed with chimneystacks at each end serving the fireplaces in the waiting and porters’ rooms. In 1874 a signal box of brick and timber construction, under a hipped roof, opened west of the up platform, adjacent to the level crossing.

Samuel McKenzie was the first stationmaster. In 1867 he was succeeded by John Scott, who in turn was replaced by William Reay in 1872 and he held the post until 1876. In 1879 Thomas Allison was appointed.

Up trains: weekdays
August 1887

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.07am

Penrith

8.14am Ø

Cockermouth

9.28am

Penrith

9.29am

Workington

11.30am

Penrith

11.01am

Workington

3.52pm

Penrith

2.56pm

Workington

6.17pm

Penrith

6.17pm

Cockermouth

-

-

7.00pm

Workington

-

-

8.46pm

Workington

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

9.47am

Penrith

8.06am

Workington

6.27pm

Penrith

7.06pm

Workington

Ø  Goods and passenger train; punctuality not guaranteed

Originally the crossing loop was entirely to the east of the road crossing, but c1899 it was extended westwards over the level crossing as well as eastwards. The goods department was served by four sidings behind the up platform. The most northerly siding ended at three coal cells; cattle, timber and sundry other goods were dealt with and a small shed was provided.

In June 1907 oil lighting at Bassenthwaite Lake station gave way to acetylene gas, following its installation at several other minor stations on the CK&P. It was unusual for minor country  stations to be gas-lit.

It seems that from February 1910 the stationmaster took on the additional responsibility of Sub-Postmaster, although the 1900 OS map already identifies a Post Office in the building. As noted above, the station building was extended to accommodate this new function. The stationmaster from 1908-10 was John Blackburn and J W Ewart took on this role (as well as that of Sub-Postmaster) from 1910 until 1921.

Up trains: weekdays
June  1920

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.21am

Penrith

8.32am

Workington

9.06am

Penrith

10.00am

Cockermouth

11.32am

Penrith

10.56am

Workington

2.46pm

Penrith

2.15pm

Workington

6.12pm

Penrith

3.58pm

Workington

7.21pm

Penrith

7.25pm

Workington

-

-

9.27pm

Workington

No Sunday service

Bassenthwaite Lake station was attractively situated, with the bulk of Skiddaw providing a scenic backdrop to the south-east. The delights of the site were enhanced by the station garden. From Edwardian times until 1921 the CK&P gardener was James Shrives, and Bowtell (1989) remarks that he made this station his speciality. In the 1920s the Porter, Frank Bragg, was also a keen gardener.

In January 1923 the station became part of the new London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS). At this time the stationmaster was Joseph Todhunter, who had been appointed in 1921. He held the post until 1933, and his successors were a Mr Grimley and Sam Whelan. The station changed little in LMS days, but it is thought that new nameboards were installed in this era. Camping coaches made their appearance, offering inexpensive accommodation for holidaymakers (who arrived and departed by train). Before 1939 the coaches were delivered to the station in spring and were removed for maintenance and storage in the winter. While they were in place at the station the siding upon which they stood was disconnected.

Up trains: weekdays
6 May to 6 Oct 1946

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.47am

Penrith

8.38am

Workington

8.40am SX ¶

Penrith

11.20am †

Workington

9.14am MFSO

London Euston

12.30pm ‖

Workington

10.40am SO §

Liverpool Exchange

1.35pm SO

Workington

11.46am ‡

Penrith

2.31pm #

Workington

12.37pm SO

Keswick

3.57pm SO ++

Cockermouth

2.57pm SX

Penrith

6.07pm SX

Workington

6.06pm

Penrith

6.57pm MFSO

Workington

6.56pm

Penrith

7.40pm SO

Workington

-

-

9.18pm

Workington

No Sunday service
SX Saturday excepted   SO Saturday only   MFSO Monday, Friday and Saturday only
‡ 6 minutes later on Monday, Friday and Saturday      
† 8 minutes later on Monday, Friday and Saturday
‖ 7 minutes later on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
¶ From 8 June   ++ 15 June to 21 September    # 18 May to 28 September   
§ 22 June to 14 September

In January 1948 at nationalisation Bassenthwaite Lake station became part of the new British Railways (BR) London Midland Region (LM). Some rationalisation of the goods yard took place in 1951 when two of the sidings were removed. The former CK&P saw the introduction of diesel multiple units in early January 1955 which gradually replaced steam-hauled passenger trains.  In the summer 1956 timetable (below) Sunday trains were introduced; they did not serve all intermediate stations but did call at Bassenthwaite Lake.

Up trains: weekdays
11 Jun – 16 Sep 1956

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.35am

Carlisle

8.07am

Workington

8.39am SO*

Crewe

11.04am

Workington

9.11am #

London Euston

12.31pm

Workington

10.20am

Carlisle ‡

2.21pm

Workington

12.05pm

Penrith

4.00pm SX

Workington

12.54pm

Carlisle

4.26pm SO

Workington

1.57pm

Penrith

5.58pm

Workington

3.36pm

Penrith

7.14pm

Workington †

6.00pm

Carlisle

7.56pm #

Workington

7.12pm

Penrith

9.06pm~

Workington

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

9.28am

Carlisle

10.17am

Workington

11.43am

Carlisle

12.07pm

Whitehaven

2.44pm

Keswick

-

-

Sunday services operate until 2 September 1956
SX Saturday excepted     SO Saturday only    § 22 June to 1 September    
# 9 July to 7 Sep SX; until 15 September SO   ‡ Terminates at Penrith SO     
† Continues to Whitehaven SO   ~ 2 minutes later on Saturday 
*16 July to 8 September

In BR ownership Bassenthwaite Lake station continued to be staffed and photographs indicate that it remained well cared for and the tradition of maintaining an attractive garden continued. Camping coaches provided accommodation at the station into the 1960s. Along with most stations on the Workington – Penrith line, Bassenthwaite Lake was fitted with BR(LM) maroon vitreous enamel nameboards and totem lamp tablets, probably in the late 1950s. Although the station had been gas-lit the lanterns in use by the late 1950s/early 1960s held oil lamps as the gas equipment had worn out.

Sam Whelan was stationmaster until 1957-58. After his departure there was an interregnum, during which the sub-post office at the station closed, and Jim Airey, stationmaster from 1959 until 1964 was not given the responsibility of Sub-Postmaster. After Airey’s departure to Blencow station, Bassenthwaite Lake was supervised by Mr Hughes, the Cockermouth stationmaster.

Nothing came of the murmurings of closure in 1959 until March 1963 when the ‘Beeching Report’ recommended that the entire route from Workington to Penrith be ‘axed’. All goods facilities, including those at Bassenthwaite Lake, were withdrawn with effect from 1 June 1964 (except for access to the quarries at Flusco and Blencow near the eastern end of the route).

A proposal to withdraw all passenger services was published on 5 July 1963 and followed the usual TUCC procedure. In late December 1966 Barbara Castle became Minister of Transport and one of her early decisions, announced on 10 January 1966, was that the route should be closed between Workington and Keswick but the remainder of the line to Penrith should be retained in view of the hardship which would be suffered by users of that section of the route. It seems ironic that Mrs Castle, herself at one time a keen rambler, should have refused closure of some Hope Valley (Derbyshire) stations so that ramblers could use them, whilst approving the closure of Bassenthwaite Lake and Braithwaite stations and the exceptionally scenic stretch of railway between them. The last trains ran between Workington and Keswick on 16 April 1966 and on 18 April Bassenthwaite Lake station closed. Below is the final list of train departures.

Up trains: weekdays
14 June 1965 to 17 April 1966

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

07.34

Carlisle

08.05

Workington

08.49 SO *

Manchester Victoria / Crewe

10.16

Workington

09.08 SO ++

London Euston

14.22

Workington

09.53

Carlisle

14.51 SO ɫ

Workington

12.54

Carlisle

17.54

Workington

15.51

Carlisle ¶

18.53

Workington

17.55

Keswick

19.16

Workington

19.43

Carlisle

20.29‡

Workington

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

14.45 $

Keswick

15.08 $

Workington

16.28 $

Keswick

17.00 $

Workington

18.42 $

Keswick

19.10 $

Whitehaven

$ Until 5 September     * 17 July until 21 August       = 11 July until 29 August ¶ Terminates at Penrith Friday and Saturday 18 June to 4 September ɫ  Until 21 August    # SX 28 June until 27 August. Departs 18.59 SO until 28 August   + + SO Until 4 September. Departs 0935 SX 28 June until 27 August ‡ Calls to set down on notice to the guard at Braithwaite.

The value of the railway trackbed along the western shore of Bassenthwaite Lake for the route of the upgraded A66 trunk road undoubtedly helped to justify the closure of the railway. The course of the new road narrowly misses the site of Bassenthwaite Lake station and, remarkably, much of the former station survives.  By early 1975 the rails had long been lifted and the signal box as well as the western end of the up platform and its building had been demolished; the down platform was also partly demolished at the western end. However all of the buildings on the down side remained in place, as we understand they still do. The stationmaster’s house is in residential use but the platform is crumbling and overgrown and the station / post office building and the staff cottages are derelict. Whereas 40 to 50 years ago derelict station buildings were commonly encountered – some of them at open stations! - in recent years disused stations have generally been demolished, often without trace, or have been refurbished for a variety of uses. Bassenthwaite Lake is one of a small number which have been allowed to decay into romantic ruins; in recent years the same could be said of Thorganby (former Derwent Valley Light Railway), Bowes (Stainmore route) and Gedney (former Midland & Great Northern Railway).

In April 2019 the derelict Bassenthwaite Lake station was bought by Cumbrian Railway Association members Simon and Diana Parums. The Parums have restored 10 historic properties over 30 years. They applied for planning permission from the Lake District National Park to turn the derelict station building into an accessible cafe and tourist attraction. They spent six months clearing the track and derelict buildings but quickly realised there was insufficient room in the old station itself to be a café. To accommodate the café they began looking for a carriage.

They visited a specialist haulage yard in Stoke-on -Trent where there was a suitable carriage for sale. Sitting next to it was a steam locomotive, and for the Parums, it was an opportunity not to be missed. It was a full-scale replica of a world-famous locomotive used in the 2017 Hollywood adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express starring Johnny Depp and Dame Judy Dench. The replica was built in 12 weeks at Longcross Studios in Surrey by a dedicated team of engineers.

It is based upon the SNCF 241P class and the one glaring inaccuracy is the headlamp on the smokebox door. This was required for the film but the real 241P had the SNCF monogram in the centre of the smokebox door. The French classed their steam locos differently from most of the world. The 241 referred to 2 pony axles - 4 driving axles - 1 pony axle: what we and most of the world would call a 4-8-2. The 'P' signified a Passenger locomotive. The class remained in service until 1973.

The train was full of the props from the multi-million dollar movie, and the carriages are larger than normal to fit lighting and cameras inside.

Having purchased the replica locomotive and tender and a buffet car, salon and baggage carriage at a fraction of the cost of a real locomotive, a length of track was laid in the station and the locomotive and carriages were transported to Bassenthwaite Lake in December 2019. For now the station remains private and is not open to the public, and 24-hour security is in operation to prevent trespassing. The Parums are now living in the stationmaster's house. If everything goes according to plan, the café will be open by the end of 2020. In the future, the Parums would like to turn one of the carriages into a bird hide and they are exploring the idea of turning the station's cottage into an observatory. They are hoping that work on the site will be completed by the end of 2021.

Route map drawn by Alan Young. Tickets from Michael Stewart. Bradshaw from Alan Young.

To see the other stations on the Cockermouth - Penrith line click on the station name: Cockermouth 1st, Cockermouth 2nd, Embleton, Braithwaite, Keswick, Briery Siding Halt, Threlkeld, Highgate Platform, Troutbeck, Penruddock & Blencow


Bassenthwaite Lake Station Gallery 1:
July 1907 - August 1951



Bassenthwaite Lake station looking south-east from the up platform sometime before July 1907. This angle provides limited information about the station, but the unusual serif print on the CK&P running-in nameboard and the lanterns, still lit by oil prior to the adoption of acetylene gas, are of interest. The locomotive hauling a westbound passenger train is a Class 2F 0-6-0 Webb-designed ‘Cauliflower’ in original condition. This class of locomotive was originally known as the ’18-inch Goods’ and introduced in the 1880s. Although intended for hauling goods they were frequently employed on passenger train duties, as here. The last few of the class lasted until 1955, well into British Railways days. The five vehicles are all in LNWR white and plum livery. The leading one is a Centre Brake apparently with passenger accommodation, almost certainly a six-wheeler. The next three vehicles are four-compartment four-wheelers. The fifth is another brake.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection


1864 1: 2,500 OS map, The recently-opened Bassenthwaite Lake station is named here as ‘Peelwyke’. This is a rare example of misinformation on an Ordnance Survey map, as the official name was Bassenthwaite Lake from the station’s opening. Peelwyke (or Piel Wyke) is a hamlet a short distance south of the station, and although CK&P minutes do refer to the station site by this name prior to opening, the decision had been made in 1864 to call it Bassenthwaite Lake. The lake shore is close to the station – the unshaded area to the north-east. A double-track railway is shown passing through the station, singling just before the level crossing. The two platforms are implied by fine lines indicating their back walls. South of the rails, the stationmaster’s house is shown close to the level crossing with the station building to the south-east. The waiting shelter is shown on the up (north-east) platform. The goods yard consists of two sidings, trailing from the up line, each with a short spur; there is a short spur trailing off the down line immediately east of the platform, which is no longer shown on the 1900 map.

1900 1: 2,500 OS map. Bassenthwaite Lake station is now named correctly. The station building is identified as a Post Office, and railwaymen’s cottages have been constructed nearby. The signal box (SB) has been added adjacent to the level crossing at the north-west end of the up platform. The goods yard has been extended, with five sidings behind the up platform. The fourth siding serves the coal depot, and adjacent to it is the weigh office (‘W.M.’ = weighing machine).  A small shed (unshaded and no siding enters it) is immediately north-east of the coal depot. A fifth siding runs on the north side of this building.

1925 1: 2,500 OS map. The double track through the station now extends just beyond the level crossing. The station building has been extended to accommodate the Post Office. A short headshunt is shown close to the entrance to the goods yard and a crane has been added within the yard. The tiny unnamed building shown south-east of the (still unshaded) goods shed is the ‘gas house’ where acetylene gas for the station lighting is generated; the siding to the north of this building has been removed.

This tinted photo shows Bassenthwaite Lake station circa 1910, looking north-west from the up platform.  The single-storey stone structure on the down platform is the station building which, although similar to those at Embleton and some of the other CK&P stations has the distinction of a gable above the office (far end of the building) and elaborate bargeboards; these refinements were possibly to reflect the especially scenic location. A gents’ toilet is attached at the near end. The stationmaster’s two-storey house is beyond the platform ramp and adjacent to the level crossing. It, too, is stone built and the half-hipped roof shows a family resemblance to structures at other minor stations on the line. On the up platform the only building is a modest timber pent-roofed shelter, enclosed and provided with fireplaces and chimneys installed. The signal box is the original Saxby design which would be replaced in 1911 with a CK&P box.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Looking south-east from the level crossing at Bassenthwaite Lake station, probably in the 1930s. In the foreground is the masonry of the stationmaster’s house. Beyond the barrow crossing are the platform ramps. The sole building on the up platform is an enclosed shelter of timber. The running-in nameboard is probably an LMS fixture. The garden on the platform is well maintained: a feature for which the stations on this route were renowned. A goods train is disappearing in the direction of Keswick, including a number of open wagons, one van and a brake van.
Photo from John Mann collection

An unidentified Cauliflower approaches Bassenthwaite Lake during LMS days.
Photo received from Cedric Collier

The distinguished and prolific railway photographer H C Casserley visited the CK&P in June 1947 and snatched this view of the down platform of Bassenthwaite Lake station from a Keswick-bound train. The nearest buildings are railway staff cottages, and beyond are the single-storey station building and the stationmaster’s two-storey house. The elaborate bargeboards on the station building, seen on an earlier photograph, have given way to plain ones. The nameboard is probably an early LMS design and the lanterns are operated with acetylene gas.
Photo by H C Casserley

An ex-LNWR Cauliflowers stands at the down platform at Bassenthwaite Lake station in 1948. No. 28559; this was one of the dwindling number of the type to survive into BR days and of those it was one of the few to carry a BR number. As BR No. 58415 it survived until November 1953.
Photo from James Lake collection

LMS Ivatt 2MT 2-6-0 No. 46449, hauls the Saturday 10.15 am Manchester Victoria to Workington service out of Bassenthwaite Lake station in August 1951,
Photo by Ben Brooksbank

Click here for Bassenthwaite Lake Station Gallery 2:
Early 1950s - cMid 1950s

 

 

 

[Source: Alan Young]




Last updated: Saturday, 22-Feb-2020 12:52:29 CET
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