COCKERMOUTH HERITAGE GROUP NEWS Cockermouth and its Railway Connections, part 1 − The Cockermouth to Workington Railway

Authorised by an initial act of the

23rd July 1845, the railway started as a single track linking the eight and half miles from the terminal station at the west end of Cockermouth which is now occupied by the Lakes Home Centre, to Workington Harbour.

It was designed primarily to carry coal from pits which were to be connected to the line in the lower Derwent Valley, for shipment from the port at Workington by sea.

The line opened for traffic on the 28th April 1847.

The Marron extension of the Whitehaven, Cleator and Egremont Railway and the Derwent branch of the Maryport and Carlisle railway were both constructed to link with the C&WR and together gave an alternative route for the northward movement of hematite ore from the Cumberland ore field.

The completion of the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway made the C&WR part of a continuous through route between South Durham and the Cumberland ore field.

These developments, both improved the potential profitability of the C&WR and made control of it, important to bigger companies wishing to maximise the iron ore traffic over their lines. The C&WR was absorbed by the London and North Western Railway in 1866. Goods traffic on the line ceased in 1964 and passenger traffic in 1966. From just east of Bridgefoot to just short of the Papcastle roundabout, the modern A66 trunk road follows the alignment of the C&WR.

How HMRC’s penalty system for filing tax returns is implemented has come under fire in a recent Tax Tribunal case. For those of you who are lucky enough not to know, at midnight on deadline day the computer spits out penalty notices for everyone who has missed the deadline. Several billion pounds is collected each year in this way.

Now a Tribunal judge has knocked back a fine for late filing on the basis that it is a requirement: “For a tax officer to review such notices before they are sent out.” The judge basically said to HMRC, that in his view all penalties which are spat out with no human check on correctness are invalid.

Before all readers who have ever had a fine like this rush off to your lawyers, there are some important caveats. First of all, Tax

Looking east towards what was Cockermouth’s Railway Station later to become the Goods Station

The station at Cockermouth was on the south bank of and close to the road bridge over the River Derwent. The line ran westwards south of the Derwent and immediately north of Brigham and Broughton Cross, crossing the River Marron near its confluence with the Derwent. West of the Marron, the railway kept to the low ground of the floodplain of the Derwent, crossing and re-crossing the Derwent five times, finally running along the north side of the Derwent to a junction with the Whitehaven Junction Railway, just north of the latter’s bridge over the Derwent. Passenger trains run over the WJR to reach Workington railway station now joint between the C&WR and WJR The line was single track throughout and all the bridges were built as timber trestles. Originally, there were intermediate stations at Brigham and at Camerton. Additional stations were soon added at Broughton Cross and at Workington Bridge.

Passenger trains were timetabled to connect with the service on the coastline. Departures from Workington were ‘subject of irregularities in the arrival of the other trains at Workington, for which the Cockermouth trains will be detained’ although this was noted to cause serious inconvenience. Not until 1858, were there through trains - Cockermouth to Whitehaven, May 1858 and Cockermouth to Carlisle, August 1858.

The coal traffic was to use the WJR to reach the south bank of the Derwent and then branch off to coal drops on the north side of Workington Harbour. However, the railway was noted at the opening celebrations to be: “Almost finished.” Provisions for handling the mineral traffic were not yet in place, coal traffic only began in June 1847 and one of the three additional coal drops at Workington harbour was still not completed in August 1848.

The prospects of the C&W were significantly improved by the actions of others. The improvement of port facilities at Workington and the construction of railways, whose connection with the C&W changed from being an insignificant dead end branch, to a link in through routes for the exploitation of the hematite ore field a few miles south of the Derwent.

To be continued… Eric Cass

Telephone: 01900 823966




Tribunals do not set a legal precedent. On the other hand, HMRC decided not to appeal this ruling. I suspect at least part of the reason for that is that if a higher court were to agree with the Tribunal judge, this would create legal precedent and all the lawyers looking for work now that PPI claims are dying off could move across on to tax penalty reclaims.

A second problem is that other Tribunal judges are clearly fine with the existing


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interpretation of the Taxes Management Act and HMRC are okay to just spit out fines Willy-nilly, without human double checking. For now, I am keeping a watching brief on this situation, as there are bound to be a few more Tribunal cases to test the waters.

HMRC is the least ethical and most cynical organisation I deal with, and considering I am in the accountancy profession – run by the guys behind most tax dodging scandals and dodgy large company audits, that is really saying something! So, I am not going to lose any sleep over their evident discomfort – or they would have appealed at this Tribunal ruling.

Chris MacLeod

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