Northern have announced that there will be Sunday services between Barrow and Carlisle and additional evening trains from 20 May. This is not the full service promised but a considerable move towards it. Full timetables will be available on 7 April. There will also be four return Barrow-Manchester Airport and one Windermere-Manchester Piccadilly services.
RMT have more strike days on 26 and 29 March. Timetables in summary are buses and trains between Carlisle to Whitehaven providing a roughly hourly service mostly connecting with six trains between Whitehaven and Barrow, starting early but finishing in late afternoon and the additional early morning Barrow-Sellafield return and Maryport-Barrow service. Barrow-Lancaster has four trains each way but with very poor connections in Barrow.
Newcastle-Carlisle has eight or nine trains each way. There are two from Leeds to Carlisle and two from Carlisle to Skipton plus buses between Carlisle and Appleby. Windermere-Oxenholme has a roughly hourly service of trains and buses.
Buses are a viable alternative all day between Whitehaven and Carlisle (except for Dalston) as well as from Carlisle to Newcastle and Windermere to Kendal with a change for Oxenholme.
Preston-Blackpool North replaced by buses until 16 April
Trains from Preston via Bolton replaced by buses on Saturdays and Sundays until further notice
Over the Easter weekend 31 March-2 April west coast lines have buses between Carlisle and Glasgow/Edinburgh and on 1 April also between Carlisle and Lancaster. There are no trains at London Euston on 1 April.
Virgin trains have a seat sale from 15-19 March for travel in April and May.
The planned improved timetable for December 2017 has now been put back at least to mid 2018 because of delays in electrification in the Bolton area and elsewhere and subsequent transfer of trains. This will include Sunday services between Whitehaven and Barrow, some earlier and later trains and generally fill almost all the gaps in the current timetable. 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. The May timetable is now due to be announced in the week of 17 March.
There is a talk by Eric Robson titled An historical tour of Cumbria with the mad, the bad and the dangerous to know recounting a railway journey from platform 6 to platform 2 at Carlisle at Rheged on 23 March at 1900 (£10 or £25 with buffet supper)
Railfuture’s summer conference is in Carlisle on 23 June. CRUG members can take advantage of our membership price of £25 if booked by the end of April.