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Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway


RCD’s Overview

This railway stretches along part of a former branch line of the Furness Railway, today running from the village of Haverthwaite to the southern shores of Lake Windermere at Lakeside. The railway enables visitors to enjoy the experience of travelling by steam into the heart of the Lake District national park. The railway has historically been linked to ferry services which run the length of Lake Windermere, starting from Lake’s southern tip at Lakeside, adjacent to the railway station. It remains the case today, a special feature of railway being that trains are timed to connect with boats on Lake Windermere to Bowness and Ambleside. Through tickets may be bought and many passengers take this option as part of a full days’ outing. The railway is also noted for operating a pair of Fairburn 4MT 2-6-4 tank engines.


Happening This Month:

  • Go to 'Homepage' and click into 'Railway Club Calendar'

Key Facts (where and when)

Extent of Railway (where to where):

Haverthwaite (Cumbria) to Lakeside (on Lake Windermere)

Principal Visitor Centre:

Haverthwaite Station (LA12 8AL)

Period of Operation*

- April to October: Daily

- December (Special event trains)

 [* This is a summary. Please go to the railway’s website for definitive operating days] 


Key Facts (what you’ll see)

Services usually steam or diesel?

Nearly always steam. Very occasional diesel

Type of Steam / Diesel Locomotives Used:

Range of tank steam engines, and small number of diesel locomotives

Length of Line:

3 miles

Time taken for a round trip:

50 minutes

Number of trains per day:

6 in each direction

Number of Stations:

3 stations


Returns - Adult: £10: Child: £6 Family: £30 (combined tickets with Lake boat also available)

Singles - Adult: £6: Child: £4

Time to allow for Visit:

1-2 hours in railway alone. Half to full day if combined with boat trip





Picnic/Play areas:


Nearby Features:

Lakes Aquarium and Lakeland Motor Museum.

Preservation Established:


Car Park Facilities:

Haverthwaite and at Lakeside (both pay-and-display).


Key Facts (Galas/Events/Dining)

Dining Trains:

- None currently advertised                                                                               

Event Trains:

- See Website (usually includes Tinsel Trains: December) 

Principal Galas:

- None currently advertised




Telephone:                                                           015395 31594


Social Media:                                              

                                                                                Also on Twitter/ Instagram/ Flickr



Brief History of the Railway and its Preservation  

By 1854 a line from Carnforth to Barrow in Furness via Ulverston had been completed, linking into the Lancaster to Carlisle main line at Carnforth. It was operated almost from the outset by the Furness Railway. The line passed some miles to the south of Lake Windermere, an increasingly popular tourist destination, and accordingly a branch line was proposed and built from Ulverston to the southern tip of Lake Windermere at a point named Lakeside. The branch, opened in 1869, was 8 miles long and was well used particularly during the summer season with excursion trains from Lancashire and beyond. Significant amounts of coal was also carried for the Windermere steamers as well as other freight. By the 1960s, however, traffic numbers had fallen and the branch was closed to passengers in 1965, and to all traffic in 1967.

At that time enthusiasts formed a group with the idea of preserving both the branch line and the locomotive shed at Carnforth, to provide a complete steam experience with both working engine shed and branch line. The scheme had considerable support, however extensive road improvements in the area necessitated truncating the line south of Haverthwaite, and ultimately only the northern half of the branch line from Haverthwaite to Lakeside became available for preservation. That section was opened as a heritage railway in 1973.


Steam Operational Locomotives:

(1) BR Class 4MT 2-6-4 (Fairburn) - No. 42073

(2) BR Class 4MT 2-6-4 (Fairburn) - 42085

(3) Barclay 0-6-0 - 1245

(4) Barclay 0-4-0ST - 2333 ‘David’

(5) Bagnall 0-6-0ST - 2682 ‘Princess’

(6) Hunslett 0-6-0ST - 3698 ‘Repulse’

(7) Bagnall 0-6-0ST - 2996 ‘Victor’


Diesel Operational Locomotives/DMU:

(1) BR Class 03 shunter - D2072

(2) BR Class 03 shunter - D2117

(3) BR Class 11 shunter - 11712

(4) BR Class 20 - 20214

(5) Heritage DMU Class 110 - 52071 and 52077



The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway is a commercial operation which does not rely upon a support organisation. It does however welcome volunteers. It is owned by a private company, the shares of which are not publicly available. 


What They Say About Volunteering:

Volunteers are always welcome. Locomotive, carriage overhauls and S&T repair/replacement continue to give us plenty opportunity for a variety of restoration tasks. We welcome you to join our midweek gangs (or indeed any day of the week) to work on maintaining and improving our railway, including the rolling stock overhauls. We endeavour to ensure that you are directed towards (and supported on) the appropriate tasks.  If your preference is to volunteer on some of the wider range of tasks that you will see taking place at our railway, including train operations, then please get in touch.


How to Volunteer:                                Send an email to the railway enquiring as to volunteering



Those interested in this railway may also be interested in the following railway societies also listed on this



Traditional Railway Societies:

- London & North Western Railway Society

- Cumbrian Railways Association

- Stephenson Locomotive Society (Lakeside, Kendal)

- RCTS (Furness branch)


Model Railway Clubs:

- Furness Model Railway Club

- Kendal Model Railway Club

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