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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 which will be available on 24 April. On 8 April there was a reduced service with six trains each way between Barrow and Workington but buses north of Workington (and between Oxenholme and Windermere) and four return journeys from Barrow to Lancaster (but with poor connections to the coast) and no service from Carlisle to Newcastle or Leeds. For journeys between stations from Whitehaven to Wigton and Carlisle and from Carlisle to Newcastle there are parallel buses but few south of Whitehaven.
There is a new timetable from 21 May but with almost 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 until 10 September; there is an additional 1017 Preston-Barrow from 25 June and the 1117 Preston-Barrow runs at 1123 up to 18 June when it is replaced by the 1005 above; the 1604 Preston-Barrow which starts at 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.