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The RMT union have called a further strike on 28 April (after 8 April strike) and Northern are intending to run a revised timetable with a reduced service between Barrow and Workington but buses north of Workington (and between Oxenholme and Windermere) and a few return journeys from Barrow to Lancaster (but with poor connections to the coast) and from Carlisle to Newcastle and Skipton. For journeys between stations from Whitehaven to Wigton and Carlisle and from Carlisle to Newcastle there are parallel buses but few south of Whitehaven. Trains will leave Workington for Barrow at 0609, 0933, 1133 and 1602, plus Whitehaven to Barrow at 0728, 1251 and 1530 and Sellafield-Barrow at 0907 with a further Workington-Whitehaven journey at 0834. Return from Barrow-Workington is at 0650, 0910, 1231 and 1450 with Barrow-Whitehaven trains also at 0600, 1122 and 1331 and Barrow-Sellafield only at 0801. Connecting buses will run between Whitehaven/Workington and Carlisle between 0728 from Whitehaven to 1641 from Workington and from 0523 to 1715 from Carlisle. Barrow-Lancaster trains run at 0713, 1009, 1331 and 1610 returning at 0848, 1249, 1437 and 1720. Carlisle-Newcastle trains are at 0828, 1025, 1135, 1436 and 1628 returning at 0646, 0824, 1222, 1424 and 1925.
There is a new timetable from 21 May but with virtually no changes to the coast line.
Mondays to Fridays the 1830 from Barrow is one minute later at stations from Whitehaven to Harrington and at Carlisle and on Saturdays the 1332 from Barrow arrives in Carlisle one minute later.
There are a few changes on the Furness line (beyond Barrow).
On Saturdays the 2135 Barrow-Lancaster is extended to Preston and the 2314 Lancaster-Barrow starts from Manchester Airport at 2200, both from 24 June-9 September.
There are a few changes on Sundays – the 0922 Barrow-Lancaster is extended to Manchester Airport from 25 June; there is an additional 1005 Barrow-Lancaster-Morecambe train until 10 September. In the opposite direction there is an additional 1017 Preston‑Barrow from 25 June and the 1117 Preston-Barrow runs at 1123 up to 18 June and then is replaced by the 1017; the 1604 Preston-Barrow which starts from Blackpool North becomes 1608 and starts at Preston.
Clearly these are slight improvements but no use for the coast line as we are still waiting for Sunday services between Barrow and Whitehaven.
Engineering works affect the west coast main line over Easter and May Day holiday weekends. Virgin and TransPennine trains are affected. 15 and 17 April: no trains north of Carlisle (and for West Midlands change at Preston); 16 April no trains north of Oxenholme; 29 April no trains north of Wigan (Preston in the morning); 30 April no trains north of Wigan; 1 May no trains north of Wigan (Preston after noon).
Club 55 is available again on TransPennine Express at £19 standard class return in the north of England and £29 to Scotland until 16 May with 20% off for railcard holders. However you may find cheaper advance fares available.
The planned improved timetable for December 2017 has now been put back to at least May 2018 because of delays in electrification in south west England and subsequent transfer of trains. The previous date for the withdrawal of loco hauled trains and Pacer units of December 2019 still stands, when we should be served by a fleet of four car refurbished class 156 diesel multiple units.
Settle and Carlisle line reopened on 31 March with a revised timetable. £15 day ranger tickets on the line are available until 20 May (£10 with railcards).
Fares on Northern increased by an average of 2.2% on 2 January (slightly below the national average of 2.3%.
West Coast Railways have excursions from Carlisle to York and Scarborough on 17 May and Carlisle, Penrith and Oxenholme to Betws-y-Coed on 20 September together with other departures from Carnforth.
Bus or train? There’s a comparison of journeys on the FAQ page.