The Anonymous Widower

Passing Loop Hope For Windermere

The title of this post is the same as that of a small story in Issue 903 of Rail Magazine.

This is the opening sentence.

The local priority for the Windermere branch is for a passing loop to enable two trains an hour to operate.

These are the distances from Oxenholme Lake District station of the stations on the Windermere branch line.

  • Kendal – 2.05
  • Burneside – 4.02
  • Staveley – 6.52
  • Windermere – 10.15


  1. Distances are in miles.chains.
  2. The return distance of 20.30 miles should be within the capability of a battery-electric train, that left Oxenholme Lake District station with full batteries.

Halfway would surely be a convenient place for a passing loop, which would be a mile towards Windermere from Burneside.

This Google Map shows Burneside and Staveley stations and the countryside in between.


  1. Burneside station is in the South-East corner
  2. Staveley station is in the North-West corner.
  3. The North-East side of the route is mainly agricultural land.

It looks like a passing loop could be built in the region of Bowston.

  • It would be approximately halfway.
  • It would be on the North-East side of the existing track.
  • It would need to be long enough to take the longest train likely to use the route.
  • ,It would allow a doubling in frequency.

I don’t think it would be the most expensive of projects.

Operational Considerations

A half-hourly service could be run as follows.

  • It seems likely that the trains will be four-car Class 331 trains, as I wrote about in Northern’s Battery Plans.
  • Two trains would probably be timed to leave Oxenholme Lake District and Windermere stations at the same time.
  • Trains currently take twenty minutes to travel along the branch and do the round trip in an hour.
  • ,This twenty minute timing would give ten minutes to turn back the train at Oxenholme Lake District and Windermere.
  • Ten minutes at each terminal station, should be enough time to fully charge the batteries for the next trip.

It should be noted that trains going to and from Manchester Airport would be able to charge their batteries on the electrified route between Oxenholme Lake District and Manchester Airport stations.

I think it would be likely, that there would be two services

  • An hourly service between Windermere and Manchester Airport stations, which is the current service on the branch.
  • An hourly shuttle service between Windermere and Oxenholme Lake District, which would be run by a single train.

The two services would alternate to provide the half-hourly service.

One of the advantages of a half-hourly service run by two trains, is that it may open the possibility of one train rescuing the other train if it fails.

If a train arrives at Windermere station with flat batteries, I suspect that as Windermere and Oxenholme have similar altitudes, that the second train could drag it back to Oxenholme station. Possibly without passengers.



April 21, 2020 - Posted by | Transport | , ,


  1. Windermere to airport would be useful, our sort of nephew Simon lives in Windermere, and doesn’t drive. We are literally a few minutes from the airport.

    Comment by Liz | April 21, 2020 | Reply

  2. The trains run every hour and take just over two hours with no changes. I reckon with a railcard, you get a return ticket for about twenty pounds. You could even take a wheelchair on the trains, which at the moment are new diesel trains. But it looks like they’ll be replaced by new battery-electric trains.

    Comment by AnonW | April 21, 2020 | Reply

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