Bus or train?

Between Whitehaven and Carlisle and intermediate stations (apart from Dalston) buses and trains follow very similar routes. There’s a table below suggesting options.

Generally trains are quicker. This may be outweighed by the time you want to travel. Early and late in the day and on Sundays buses may run when trains do not. Also take account of where you want to travel to and from – the bus may not take longer by the time you have got to and from stations.

Costs vary too. For many simple return journeys the train is cheaper (unless you have a concessionary bus pass when the journey is free at most times). But for regular travellers (from weekly to annual costs) the bus is nearly always cheaper.

For bus journeys 300/301 from Whitehaven, Workington or Maryport to Carlisle the cost is the same (and covers travel on Stagecoach buses throughout Cumbria and North Lancashire and to Dumfries and Newcastle) whereas there are a variety of train fares depending on time of day and whether you have any railcards.

With similar numbers of journeys (generally about hourly daytime and two hourly evenings and Sundays, buses have wifi and arguably more comfortable seats whilst trains have tables.

Finally mixing and matching train and bus using Plusbus can be convenient – daily additional costs are £2.40 in Whitehaven or Workington and £2.80 in Carlisle (Maryport is not covered) with discounts for railcard and season ticket holders.

The other main useful bus route to link with trains is the X4/X5 Workington-Cockermouth-Keswick-Penrith one where through rail tickets are available to Keswick and Cockermouth via Penrith.

Monday-Friday Sunday
first Last time mins number per day first last time

mins

number per day
Whitehaven-Carlisle bus 0525 2100 112 15 1005 1805 115 5
train 0657 2209 68 19 1016 2030 68 11
Workington-Carlisle bus 0440 2123 84 14 0825 1835 85 6
train 0605 2227 50 20 0855 2048 50 13
Maryport-Carlisle bus 0458 2139 59 17 0840 1852 68 6
train 0613 2236 42 14 0904 2057 42 13
 

Carlisle- Whitehaven

 

bus

 

0610

 

2300

 

111

 

16

 

1010

 

2010

 

110

 

6

train 0553 2201 69 19 0945 2110 68 13
Carlisle-Workington bus 0610 2300 96 16 1010 2010 81 6
train 0553 2201 50 19 0945 2110 50 13
Carlisle-Maryport bus 0610 2300 64 16 1010 2010 61 6
train 0553 2201 39 19 0945 2110 39 13

 

Fares

Bus
Whitehaven, Workington or Maryport-Carlisle Single Return (Explorer) Concessionary explorer 7 days 4 weeks (online) Annual (13×4 weeks)
£7.40 £11.30 £8.30   £28.50 103.99 £1199.88
Train
Single Off peak single Day return Off peak day return 7 days 1 month Annual
Whitehaven-Carlisle £10.90 £10.10 £12.10 £10.20 £48 £184.40 £1920
Workington-Carlisle £9.50 £8.80 £10.50 £8.90 £161.70 £1684
Maryport-Carlisle £8.20 £7.60 £9.10 £7.70 £36.30 £139.40 £1452
Railcards give 34% off day tickets but not 7 day or longer ones

So make your choice: speed, comfort, convenience, choice…

How busy are the stations?

Here are the estimates for station usage on the line (excluding Barrow and Carlisle). Usage is down about 8% (up around 5% last year) with Whitehaven the busiest station and Nethertown the quietest at around two passengers a day. Note the high number of people travelling to and from Sellafield every day. Millom is particularly busy for the size of the town which is similar to that of Maryport and a quarter the size of Workington.

Station Name 1516 Entries & Exits 1415 Entries & Exits %age of previous year
Whitehaven                        257,090                            271,098 94.83%
Sellafield                        204,020                            242,990 83.96%
Millom                        193,676                            213,346 90.78%
Workington                        184,880                            197,204 93.75%
Maryport                          90,392                              99,726 90.64%
Askam                          63,440                              63,652 99.67%
Wigton                          52,438                              54,382 96.43%
St.Bees                          52,270                              61,174 85.44%
Corkickle                          43,580                              40,522 107.55%
Seascale                          36,856                              36,410 101.22%
Ravenglass                          34,074                              35,334 96.43%
Aspatria                          26,842                              27,682 96.97%
Harrington                          25,016                              25,514 98.05%
Foxfield                          23,416                              26,698 87.71%
Dalston                          20,262                              23,206 87.31%
Bootle (Cumbria)                          12,172                              13,862 87.81%
Flimby                          12,132                              13,028 93.12%
Drigg                          11,312                              10,466 108.08%
Silecroft                             9,862                              10,372 95.08%
Parton                             7,614                                7,810 97.49%
Green Road                             7,110                                7,200 98.75%
Braystones                             1,028                                    892 115.25%
Nethertown                                560                                    600 93.33%
                    1,370,042                         1,483,168 92.37%