[Source: Alan Young]

Date opened: 17.8.1908
Location: Both sides of bridge on track to Highgate Close
Company on opening: Cockermouth, Keswick & Penrith Railway.Trains operated by London & North Western Railway
Date closed to passengers: 1.1.1929
Date closed completely: 1.1.1929
Company on closing: London, Midland & Scottish Railway
Present state: Demolished

Cumberland (now Cumbria for administrative purposes)

OS Grid Ref:


Date of visit: January 2010

Notes: This stopping place did not appear in published timetables and the LNW intentionally deterred the general public from using it by failing to display its name on the platforms.

The following account is drawn almost entirely from Harold D Bowtell Rails through Lakeland (pp 119-120).

The countryside between Threlkeld and Troutbeck stations was lightly populated with only scattered farmsteads and cottages. In 1892 local residents requested the CK&P to provide a station near the company’s Moor Cottages (⅝-mile west of the remote Highgate signal box which opened that year) but the company did not oblige. By 1899 a pair of houses had been built adjacent to the up track, close to Highgate signal box for the signalman and a permanent way ganger and their families. In April 1900 the CK&P received a request for one train each way to call daily at the box to uplift and set down six to eight school children; these youngsters had a long walk to Mungrisdale school, across the valley about three miles north of Highgate. The company Secretary replied that the difficulty and expense of such provision made the suggestion impractical, despite the existing train service being at convenient times to convey the children to and from Threlkeld where schools were available. Cumberland Education Committee, Canon Rawnsley of Keswick and other people of influence joined the campaign, and eventually in 1907 the CK&P consulted the Board of Trade in the hope that it would rule against the proposal; however, the Board approved of the idea.

The Education Committee agreed to pay for the construction of the station (estimated to cost about £170) and one train each day would call except ‘when the school is closed on holidays or on other occasions’, initially for ten years. The station was inspected by Col Druitt for the Board of Trade who reported on 18 June 1908 that the up and down platforms adjacent to Highgate signal box were ‘150ft long, 6ft wide, 2ft 6in above rail level, approached by separate pathways from the public road adjoining … Lamps have been provided at the entrance …’  . The Inspector reported that the CK&P had not installed nameboards because the use of the platforms was only for school children. 

The platforms were located in a cutting and were staggered either side of the overbridge carrying the Highgate Close track; the down (Threlkeld-bound) platform was west of the bridge. There is thought to have been a shelter on the down platform containing a stove which the signalman lit on winter mornings.

At the end of the 1908 summer holiday the station opened on Monday 17 August when 11 children boarded the train to Threlkeld; 12 boarded the following day.  The morning down train generally called at about 8.00 and the afternoon up train at 4.00 to 4.10, but at 3.25 from c1917.

Although intended for school traffic it is known that trains occasionally called at Highgate for social trips, often to Keswick; one call was for newlyweds to leave for their honeymoon on the up ‘school’ train on 16 May 1927.

By the mid 1920s the number of eligible ‘scholars’ had fallen to rather over half-a-dozen and from 1926 a regular motor bus service was available between Keswick and Penrith. From the end of Christmas term 1928 trains ceased to call at Highgate and from the start of 1929 children used the Cumberland Motor Services Ltd bus instead. Highgate closed officially on 1 January 1929.

Nothing remains of Highgate Platform.

Route map drawn by Alan Young. Working Timetable from Cumbrian Railways Association

To see the other stations on the Cockermouth - Penrith line click on the station name: Cockermouth 1st, Cockermouth 2nd, Embleton, Bassenthwaite Lake, Braithwaite, Keswick, Briery Siding Halt, Threlkeld, Troutbeck, Penruddock & Blencow

Click here for a brief history of the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway

Looking west at Highgate Platform c1910. The up (eastbound) platform is to the right used by children to alight from trains on term-time afternoons. Jack Greenhow, the ganger in charge of this length, is standing on the platform. The down platform is out of sight beyond the bridge; this is used by children in the mornings to join a train for the next station to attend Threlkeld Council School or the Quarry School. To discourage other use of Highgate Platform no nameboards were installed. The cottages to the right of the bridge were provided for the signalman and a permanent way ganger and their families. A ballast train, headed by an LNWR 0-6-2T ‘Coal Tank’, is on the up line.
Photo from Cumbrian Railway Association, Lens of Sutton and John Mann collection

1899 1: 2,500 OS map. This map dates from nine years before Highgate Platform was opened and it would be almost 80 years before the OS published another map of this locality at such a large scale, by which time the railway had been closed and the rails lifted.  OS maps never showed Highgate Platform. The up platform was to be constructed east of the bridge and the down platform to its west.  Highgate Signal Box is located east of the bridge on the short stretch of level ground between the cutting and the embankment leading to the bridge over Redsike Gill. The semidetached cottages housed the signalman and a permanent way ganger and their families.

Highgate Platform c1910; the up platform where children joined the morning train to Threlkeld.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Looking west towards the site of Highgate Platform in 1966. A platelayers’ hut is in the foreground. Highgate’s up platform was immediately before the bridge, served by the line which has been removed and on whose trackbed the photographer is standing.
Photo by J Charters received from Mike Hussey

Looking east in July 1986 from the overbridge at the site of Highgate Platform. The up platform was to the left of the railway trackbed. Children travelling from school in Threlkeld alighted at this platform.
Photo by John Mann

Looking west from the overbridge at Highgate in January 2010. The platform used between 1908 and 1928 by school children to travel to Threlkeld was to the left of the railway trackbed; nothing
remains of it.

Photo by Alan Young

Looking east from the overbridge at Highgate in January 2010 towards the site of the up platform, of which nothing remains. The house was formerly two railway staff cottages as seen (looking in the opposite direction) in the c1910 view. The trackbed of the railway towards Troutbeck occupied the hollow east of centre.
Photo by Alan Young




[Source: Alan Young]

Last updated: Saturday, 22-Feb-2020 16:11:59 CET
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