Workington Freight is really an adjunct to my Routes Through Carlisle gallery: BARROW TO JARROW. At the end of 2012 it was announced that the twice-weekly wagonload freight from Carlisle to Workington docks would cease, leaving only a once a week connection for Iggesund’s tank wagons. This prompted a rush of nostalgia, leading me to dig out my old pictures from the 1980s onward of freight trains centred on Workington.
In the last century, if I had a day off work or a spare summer evening (before the internet and mobile phones were an integral part of life), I knew if I went to Workington I would be guaranteed to find something there of interest. Although Whitehaven was of equal interest, when Haig pit closed and Corkickle’s block chemical trains waned, more and more of its traffic started or ended at Workington. Workington was always the freight hub in my time, having West Cumbria’s main loco shed and even after it closed it was still a traincrew signing on point as well as providing stabling and fuelling for locomotives. Although nuclear freight was not really connected to Workington, you could often see flask trains awaiting crew change in the middle roads and even after the crash of 2012, occasional nuclear waste trains still used the port.
This gallery only features main line freight, (industrial freight is covered elsewhere) from a time when Workington docks handled gypsum, scrap and coal to the Enterprise and container era and eventually to the one train a week. Workington Yard saw many steel trains, both raw materials and finished track products, and the Yard was the hub for other freight, The Royal Navy Armaments Depot on the Buckhill branch, Maryport Coal Concentration Depot and chemicals to & from Wigton, Corkickle and Sellafield as well as the local steelworks. It had wagonload freights both to Carlisle and the south of England via Willesden and the continent via Dover. The station handled freight too in the shape of its mail trains. So here are a few more memories of Workington Freight.
Most of the pre digital images are 6 x 4.5 cm transparencies copied with a flatbed scanner with just a handful of old 35mm colour negs likewise scanned.