Branch Line Britain - celebrating Britain's minor railways

Midland - Windermere review 1

Windermere railway station


21/10/07 Oxenholme to Windermere

Cost of ticket £3.80 (Cheap Day Return)

Dept Oxenholme: 14.04    Arrive Windermere: 14.24

Journey time: 20 mins

Distance: 10 miles    Weather:  cloudy

Train type: Class  4-car DMU (single track all the way)

Railway company: Trans Pennine

Frequency of trains - one every hour


Oxenholme station has been renamed "Oxenholme Lake District" to cash in on the tourist trade that might use this station, especially using the line that I am about to go on. The station has three platforms and is covered by a large shed canopy. Some Virgin Express trains do stop here, as well as through trains from Manchester Airport to Windermere, which is the train I catch. It is five minutes late and about ¾ full. It leaves from platform 3, which is to the west of the two WCML platforms. It turns away from the mainline straight away and goes in a northwesterly direction, going downhill towards Kendal, which we can see below us in the distance. The track is single all the way to Windermere with no passing loops on any of the stations on the way. We can also see the peaks of the Lake District on the right in the distance and we soon arrive at Kendal station. It has a slate built shelter on its single platform, though there are some remains of the original station buildings. There is a car park to the east of the track where another platform once stood. It also looks like another platform to the west is now filled in and grassed over. About 20 people get on. There is a large factory on the right and quite a few other smaller factories can be seen. We go over a river and see the legend "The Home of Kendal Mint Cake" spelt out on a large sign below us. We are soon out into the countryside, which has gently rolling hills, with sheep and cattle grazing on them. We cruise at a steady 40 mph and make an unscheduled stop at Burneside to let someone off. It is a single platform station with its original station building, though this is now in private hands. Strangely there's a boat builders next to the station! The hills in the distance start to get bigger the further west we go. There's just the occasional farm now as we continue to go downhill and run parallel to the A591.We go over a level crossing before speeding up and then shoot through Staveley, which has just a small shelter, with the village below. The real mountains of the Lake District now come into view ahead of us and seem very impressive. The track is mainly on embankment, so you get great views on either side of the mountains. We still seem to be going downhill all the time. Houses start appearing on the left, though it is still fields on the right as we get nearer to Windermere. We don't actually see the Lake as it is so far below us, but we soon arrive at Windermere station. Sadly it is just a single platform now with the remains of a second track covered in growth. There are car parks on both sides of the station. One is for Booths - a garden centre. The other is for Lakeland, a kitchen superstore. In fact the station seems dwarfed by the buildings on either side of it.

Summary: Obviously Windermere is a popular destination for tourists and walkers, though in the winter passengers using this line must decline. It is such a pity that there is only one platform as I am sure train excursion promoters would use this line a destination if they could.   MC